Mental Health In The Spotlight At NOW Festival 2017

TEN students from St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool are set to perform a moving performance at this year’s NOW Festival, held during Children’s Mental Health Week. The performance is part of the Merseyside Youth Association’s NOW Festival, taking place at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Friday 10 February. After the success of the inaugural NOW Festival in 2016, NOW 17 will feature performances from Liverpool young people, all telling stories that tackle issues related to mental health. Coinciding with Children’s Mental Health Week (6-12 February), St John Bosco’s performance will use dance, theatre and film to explore post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effect it can have on a child. PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. The performance piece is titled, ‘Me, myself and the battle inside’ and will be performed by students Ellie Mulhall, Lucy Soper, Rebecca Duckworth, Klaudia Biernacka, Megan Garrett, Beth Dixon, Alisha Hyland, Malika Basanmay, Amaya Djari and Lily Richardson. The synopsis of the piece reads: ‘Here we tell the story of a simple girl, facing inner demons in her own world. Feeling rejected and tangled with woe. Our story begins and has a long way to go. It’s important to remember help is at hand but to fight this battle first you must understand.’ Pauline Ellison, faculty head of Performing Arts at St John Bosco, says: “The NOW Festival is a fantastic experience for our students to come together and gain a greater awareness of mental health. Through the creative medium of dance, theatre and film, our talented dance company have learnt new skills and choreographed a unique piece which explores PTSD. They are very excited to perform on Friday and showcase their piece at the Festival.” Darren Gidman Headteacher, says: “This project is a wonderful opportunity for students and the school to take part in and will plant the seeds for school development in this area” Working with guest artists Darren Suarez; Paul Furlong, Maurice Bessman; and Carl Cockram; along with Merseyside Youth Association and the Liverpool CAMHS partnership, young people from 21 Liverpool schools and youth organisations will showcase a mixture of original live performances and films around the subject of ‘Mental Health & the Rights of the Child’. Dr Simon Bowers, NHS Liverpool CCG clinical vice chair, adds: “Projects like the NOW festival are important as they help raise awareness of some of the pressures affecting young people’s mental health and can inspire others to ask for help. “The continuing partnership between schools, voluntary groups and health providers means that mental health conditions can be addressed earlier, and families are supported as young people enter adulthood.” For more information about The NOW Festival, visit: www.liverpoolcamhsfyi.com/now-fest