Posted on 9th October, 2004
In celebration of World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October, Devon Partnership NHS Trust played host to the first performance of the national tour of 'On the Edge', the interactive drama about emerging psychosis, on Monday 11 October 2004. 'On the Edge' is a major health education project for young people around issues to do with emerging psychosis The national tour follows funding earlier in the year of £150,000 from the Wellcome Trust and a further £15,000 from the National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE). The play had a successful pilot tour of 17 local schools and colleges in March, which was greatly appreciated and resulted in winning the funding for the national tour. The tour kicked off on Monday 11 October with the premiere at Wonford House Hospital, followed by other performances across Devon before traveling across the country. The tour will last for six months leading to approximately 120 performances. There are clear aims and purposes for the project which, in addition to the health education benefits to young people, includes work to bring together local statutory and non-statutory groups, creating bridges for communication and improving local networks. The play will be part of a major health education project for young people aged between 16-22 around issues to do with psychosis, and will be a significant support for developing Early Intervention Services around the country. As Glenn Roberts, Consultant in Rehabilitation Psychiatry from the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, explains: "It is excellent news that we are starting off this national tour here at Wonford in recognition of World Mental Health Day. The play has been recognized nationally as an excellent example of positive practice in reducing stigma, and promoting more open discussion, understanding and compassion in young people concerning severe mental health problems. Mental illness can happen to anyone. One in four people have a serious mental health problem at some time in their life - so it is really common, even if people do not say much about it. The earlier we can educate people the better and with the play and its supporting educational tools we are well on the way to achieving this." The play and associated educational materials have been developed as a collaboration between John Somers, Senior Lecturer in Applied Drama at the School of Performing Arts, Exeter University and Glenn Roberts of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust.