Open Forum

Mental Health and the Arts

  • 1.  Mental Health and the Arts

    Posted 17 days ago

    Hello! If this thread caught your eye because you care about student mental health, you're in the right place!

    Among a whole flurry of things we've learned teaching this year, it's that our students are struggling. Some of them are struggling HARD. (To be honest, we're struggling too, but we'll focus on the students for now.) I've heard from many arts educators that they feel unprepared when it comes to supporting the mental health of their students and they're not sure how to create a trauma-informed classroom or theatre environment.

    Because so many people are feeling the same way and because mental health and theatre arts are two of my passions, I wanted to let you know of some learning opportunities available from the Center for Creative Arts Therapy for teaching artists & educators if you're looking for ways to better your Mental Health knowledge. These trainings range from a Free 1 Hour webinar to an affordable 2-Day Training, to a Full 5-Day Drama Therapy Intensive... hopefully within that range there will be something that can be of benefit to everyone!

    1.) Free 1 Hour Pre-Recorded Webinar on "Helping Students Cope After COVID-19".  (Watch Here.) If resources are tight, this free hour webinar has some great nuggets of information about the collective trauma everyone is experiencing and how you can create an atmosphere of safety in your rehearsals and classrooms. Just scroll down a little on the webpage and it's the 2nd webinar available.

    2.) Mental Health for the Arts Live Virtual Training This 2-day live virtual training, taught by a registered Drama Therapist, covers everything. How to be a trauma informed educator/director, how to identify warning signs of someone in a mental health crisis, what to do if someone is having a panic attack, how to get help if someone discloses suicidal thoughts to you, and more. Although this training is virtual, it is still very experiential and incorporates role plays, scenarios, and art directives. Since theatre artists have been hit hard by COVID, we're offering this important training for 50% off by using the code MH4A2021. You can learn more about this training and register HERE. This training provides 15 Professional Development hours over the 2 days in June and a certificate of completion is provided.

    3.) Principles of Drama Therapy 5-Day Intensive If you have always felt called to do "more" with theatre, perhaps becoming a drama therapist is in your future! If you want to explore the world of drama therapy, this live virtual intensive happening this June will cover the theory and practice of drama therapy, history of the field, Role Theory, 5 Phase Model, Sociodrama/Psychodrama, Mask Work, Playback and Puppetry. Now, this course is geared towards those who are interested in practicing drama therapy, but educators are welcome to join the class. The instructor will be very clear about what is appropriate to use with students in an educational setting and what the boundary is for therapy. If you have always been curious about the field, this is an excellent course to take. The cost is consistent with an intensive, so it may not be for everyone, but at the end of the intensive you will gain 45 Professional Development hours and if you decide to pursue Registration as a Drama Therapist, you will have 3 required credits completed! Learn more about this intensive HERE.

    I hope you find one (or all) of these trainings helpful as we round out this year and head into the unknown of next school year. If you have any questions about the Center for Creative Arts Therapy, Mental Health for the Arts, or Drama Therapy, I am more than happy to connect! When I'm not busy directing high school theatre, I do outreach for the Center and talking about the healing power theatre can have is one of my favorite things. You are always welcome to email me at

    Wishing you and your students a fantastic rest of the year! 

    Leslie Kane
    Lemont High School Drama Club Director
    Center for Creative Arts Therapy Outreach Coordinator