The mental health social media community has been buzzing for a few weeks now with news of stigmatizing dance routines performed by the Waunakee High School dance team (Go here and here for past blog posts about it) and then later the Robert Morris University Women's Dance team.
Both teams' coaches, in completely separate performances on completely separate levels, thought it would be a great idea to perform a dance routine featuring their dancers in straight jackets with disheveled looks.
A lot of thanks has to go to Chrisa from The Mindstorm: Raising a Mentally Ill Child for alerting our community to these things and for actively reaching out to these two schools and the media. Communication between the mental health community and those outside of it is so important. Only with an open dialogue can we achieve change.
While these performances struck a cord with many and led to people feeling offended and hurt, we can hope that both the high school and the college will follow through with their promise to use these experiences to create dialogue with their students and to improve the mental health services and information they provide. Let us all use this as a starting point to create more awareness outside of the mental health community. Maybe this can be used to help people feel able to seek out help and not feel the need to hide their problems and fears.
If used properly these performances that portrayed mental illness in such a negative way can lead to a lot of good in the end. It has already led to new conversations and the promise of change at at least Waunakee High School and Robert Morris University.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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