Out of Character

01 November 2018

“Sometimes, all you need is that connection with somebody; it is so important and exactly what the project offers.”

“Some of us have been part of Out of Character for quite a few years now and we have really enjoyed being involved with InHospitable, our new theatre show.

All of our personal experiences with mental health have shaped the show, as well as interviews with different professionals. We also have Q&A sessions after each performance and build the audiences’ views into our future shows.

In every show, we create different scenarios and alternate universes to explore different responses to mental health challenges. There are some comedy moments but it is also quite serious because we are talking about really important issues. It might be shocking at times but we hope that it is thought-provoking and makes people think about how services are run and how practitioners act.

People with mental health problems might be too scared to come forward butif they see people like me, or if other people can break the barriers, they’re maybe more confident to come forward and get help.

Frances Harris, project member

It also helps us see things from the professionals’ points of view – they have pressures and stressors, and it isn’t something some of us had considered before – we have a bit more compassion for each other now.

We have a new mental health hospital opening next year in York so it has been great to

explore different ideas that would make the new hospital the best it can be. We would like to see professionals have more time to listen to patients and take in what they say. In the play, one of the characters is a cleaner who you don’t expect to be listening and caring for the patients, but she is.

Making sure there is a connection between being an inpatient and outpatient is also important. Yes, you have an illness but talking about normal things is important. Your mental health is left at the door, in the room you are just a person with similar interests.”

Frances Harris and Christie Barnes, project members


Out of Character were awarded £20,334 for their ‘A fresh vision for mental health in York’ project, which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through The Health Lottery in Yorkshire and the Humber.

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2018 Annual Review. To read it in full, click here.

To find out about more projects funded by the Trust, click here.

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