the wellcome trust commission

how effective is engagement with theatre or the arts in preventing & treating youth anxiety & depression?

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in june 2020, sumunum became one of a select number of teams funded by the Wellcome trust, UK to review the evidence on the aspects of interventions that could make a difference in preventing & treating youth anxiety and depression. 

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sumunum’s site & research partner in this commission was Udaan - a mental health reform programme by the tata trusts at the regional mental hospital, nagpur. 

each commissioned team reviewed the evidence for one active ingredient.  the active ingredients are diverse & cover a range of options in the social development & sciences area to strengthen a unity of purpose - that being, preventing & treating anxiety and depression among the youth.

our active ingredient was “engagement with drama and the arts”

we engaged in a participatory insight analysis to review the available evidence on how effective engagement with theatre or the arts is in preventing & treating youth anxiety and depression.

 

the use of drama & the arts’ allowed us to explore, discuss & solve issues relevant to each individual & their circumstances. our sessions were focused on eliciting each individuals’ personal experience of living with a mental health issue & their journey of navigating through it. 

 

key to our success in the application process was our inclusion of arts-based practices & the vital perspective of those with lived experience of mental health difficulties. the chosen participants were involved in multimodal arts engagement sessions that were tailored to be non-judgemental, safe inclusive environment for self-expression & participation.   
 

in addition to the report, our project created an artistic depiction of the results of the insight analysis. individual & collective narratives have been interwoven with findings emerging from the review of the literature. this serves a dual purpose: 

  1. promotes social participation of youth with mental health issues & reducing stigma related to mental illness 

  2. provides engaging, accessible & impactful information for consumption & engagement by the general public. 

the commission ran from june 2020 to october, 2020. 

now, we are excited to share our findings with you! 

art matters for mental health!

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this engagement would not have been possible without wellcome trust, our lived experience experts, udaan & our team.

the team was led by -

 

kamala easwaran - a mental health professional with over a decade of experience in developing & scaling mental health interventions & working with vulnerable populations. 

 

yog japee - a clore fellow (2012), the team’s drama and arts professional. yog is a seasoned arts practitioner with over 18 years of experience in creating bespoke applied arts interventions for development. 

tasneem raja - co-lead from our partner organization, Udaan. tasneem is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience in operationalizing mental health programs.

we will be updating this space with more explorations, expressions, findings & recommendations from this study.

to know more, get in touch!