A new drama is to tour secondary schools in Leeds in a bid to combat the rising number of young people in the UK engaging in self-harming behaviour.
Finding out that more than one in ten young people self-harm prompted Space2 to commission local playwright Emma Adams to write the one-woman show called ‘Fix This’.
The performance includes a workshop and resource pack which offers guidance to adults who come into contact with young people who they suspect are self-harming and is aimed at 14-16 year olds, their teachers, parents and carers.
Emma researched the play by talking to a variety of young people at Brigshaw High School, a young people’s advisory group on mental health and a drop-in centre in Leeds with a focus on mental health and well-being.
"I wanted to engage with the issue from a point of view of not knowing much," she said. "People allowed me to come in and ask questions - they took a risk and showed tremendous generosity. It became clear to me that some young people are simply focused on getting through the day without self-harming – it’s a massive challenge for them.”
The resulting performance raises difficult questions about the experiences of young people and also the parents and carers who are coping with teenagers in crisis.
Adams added: "Young people are not interested in being told what to think. They like to be invited to think for themselves and this is what I have tried to achieve."
Ruth Gordon, Project Manager for Children and Maternity Services at Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group has helped support the show and believes it is vital to get through to parents and carers as well as young people.
"We recognised that self-harming is an escalating issue within the Leeds area, and invited Space2 to come up with a creative way of raising awareness within schools and the wider community” she said.
"It’s very important to support parents and carers and o talk with the young people in their lives about all sorts of mental health issues including self-harming behaviours. We hope this performance and workshop will give families the chance to have wider conversations about the issues raised."
‘Fix This’ will be performed at secondary schools in Leeds until Christmas. The project is funded by Jimbo’s Fund through the Leeds Community Foundation. For further information visit www.space2.org.uk