Canmore Collegiate High School Students use Improv to create Mental Health Public Service Announcements
Canmore Collegiate students have been working with The Creative Spark – Log On for Mental Health project to produce Public Service Announcements (PSAs) written and performed by students. Through a highly creative process CCHS drama students have developed a series of PSAs addressing alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, sexual harassment and the stigma of mental illness.
“Given the nature of social media Public Service Announcements written and performed by students are, in many cases, far more ‘sticky’ and meaningful then those produced professionally by the public health sector” says Creative Spark founder Rob Heighington. “CCHS has shown real courage and wisdom to support this program which, since starting our dialogue to produce the PSAs, has seen a surge of media attention to numerous heart breaking events associated with teen bullying and sexual harassment.”
After initial brainstorming and discussion around mental health issues facing teenagers CCHS drama students used improv skits to workshop their ideas and concepts, some funny, some provocative. The PSAs are then performed using professional video production methods and will be completed and presented to a student assembly in May.
It is important to note the Creative Spark initiative works closely with CCHS guidance counselors, professional mental health advisors, classes are co-facilitated by mental health and addiction councilor with M.S.W, R.S.W. The Creative Spark project is supported by and a grant recipient of the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund managed out of the University of Alberta
Since 2005 the Creative Spark has been inviting students to explore creative ways to break down the stigma of mental illness, to develop healthy relationships and give them tools to strengthen their own mental wellness.