Ethnodrama Mental Health Education Series
In conjunction with AMI-Quebec Action on Mental Illness, CAHD has been using the ethnodrama method to create vital research-based plays for public education on mental health. Part 1 was a play based on over twenty interviews with caregivers for loved ones with a mental illness. It toured for two years (2015-2017), with pre- and post-questionnaires administered to audiences, in order to provide evidence of educational efficacy. In 2019-2020, a documentary was created to extend its educational purpose. Part 1 of this series was funded through a Team Start-Up grant from the OVPRGS.
Part 2 of this series was an ethnodrama, Nobody’s Perfect: A Theatrical Exploration of Mental Health, created by a diverse community of individuals, including a dozen participants at CAHD. Performed in June 2018, this production, along with interviews with members of the cast, has been made into a documentary video. In 2019-2021, this video, along with guest appearances by cast members and the director, was developed into a webinar for public education, sponsored by Aid to Research Related Events, Exhibition, Publication and Dissemination Activities (ARRE) Program. Part 2 of this seris was funded through an Accelerator grant from the OVPRGS. The initial phase of developing the Caregivers documentary was funded by a Raschkowan Family grant.
Connections: Community Engagement & Digital Art
In collaboration with the Department of Digital and Computational Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts, this project took place from September 2019-April 2020. Group 12 members were assigned to work with undergraduate students taking a 6-credit course on the use of digital media with members of community agencies. Researchers measured the learning experience of the Concordia students and impact on using digital art materials as an artistic expression with the Centre’s Group 12 participants. The project served a dual mandate and culminated into a virtual art exhibit with the goal of educating the community about the artistic ability of people with disabilities using this innovative media.
Connecting Parents of Children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) through Art Therapy
From 2019-2020, researchers at the Centre continue to develop and conduct an art therapy-based support group for parents of children 8-10 years old with ASD. Parents of children with ASD often feel isolated and experience heightened levels of stress as a result of parenting a child with ASD. Important and common themes brought up by parents include: “feelings of fear, burden, isolation and loss, as well as yearning for support, hope, acceptance, and validation”.
As there is a noted correlation between a parent’s ability to function and the gains a child experiences, the main benefits for parental group art therapy include a direct increase in well-being of the parent and an indirect increase in their ability to care for their child. Pre and post measures will be used, along with open-ended and closed-ended questions to evaluate the participants’ perception of the efficacy of the intervention as well as clinical notes to detail the satisfaction and usefulness of the therapeutic modality from the parent’s perspective. The Centre has obtained private funding for this project.