Young people perform play about mental health for PSNI student officers
Local charity Youth Action NI recently put on a performance of a play for PSNI student officers to help them gain a better understanding of mental health issues.
The play ‘Domino’ was performed by a group of teenagers from across the greater Belfast area at the Police College recently. The student officers and the teenagers also took part in a cross-community workshop as part of the event.
Inspector Mark Cavanagh said: “As police officers, we deal with mental health issues on a daily basis so this was a great opportunity for new student officers to engage with teenagers and chat about the issues head on. For officers in their initial few weeks of training, the workshop and play helped them give consideration to different perspectives of events that could in real life, lead up to a tragedy.
“We’ve had good feedback from the student officers who seemed to really enjoy the performance. I know they’ve been talking about it quite a lot too which is great in terms of a learning experience for them.”
Maire Campbell, Artistic Director of Youth Action, and Director of ‘Domino’ commented: “This is a powerful performance and workshop that places the spotlight on mental health especially in young people. It is performed by teenagers and is based on real life experiences. The concept is that life can be like a domino, once one thing falls everything can fall - but the project offers hope and practical ways to ‘get up’ again.
“Projects like this that tackle mental health issues in a skilful and sensitive manner are simply invaluable. Art has the ability to affect us on a unique and deep level; therefore using the arts to reach out to those who are silently suffering can make a real difference and to quote some of our audience feedback, this is a ‘potentially a life-saving’ production.”
It was the first time Youth Action NI has performed at the Police College and it is hoped that there will be further performances in the future.