Monday, 6 February 2017
The origin of this workshop was a conversation that began between artist James Berlyn and then CEO of CAN Jo Metcalf after a performance of James's show I Know You're There which he performed in the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival. A pitch was subsequently made to Community Arts Network and WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) and the workshop was included as part of WA's events for National Mental Health Week.
At the beginning of the workshop James and Zoe outlined their roles as artists and facilitators to a room of 23 anxious strangers who had come to the workshop from a diverse range of ages, cultures and experiences. James explained his reasons for creating the event briefly detailing the stories of two family members who had taken their lives (his paternal grandfather and a maternal cousin) and his own period of suicidal ideation and attempts on his life nearly 20 years ago. Zoe detailed her comprehensive experience in anxiety depression and ideation.
If you have struggled, suffered and overcome a terrible thing or perhaps have managed to continue to live with something that has at times felt unsurvivable or too enormous to cope with, what have you learned in that long fraught process, what skills have you developed that you could offer up to others who may also be struggling or suffering and in desperate need of help?
What if you have to go through it again or someone close to you has to?
What are the questions I will ask this time that I didn't ask or didn't know how to ask last time? What will I do for someone this time that I didn't do last time?
This blog is intended to be a record of the anonymous contributions of workshop participants in the hope that their wisdom and experience which they have so generously shared here may benefit others dealing with similar life (and death) experiences.