Robin Williams – Play on Your Mind

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” Robin Williams

The death of Robin Williams highlights the extreme tragedy of depression. A man, who brought so much laughter to the world, hid a different reality. Having just finished reading Sane New World by Ruby Wax, he is not alone.

Recent figures show that one in four of us will suffer from mental ill-health in some form and this is costing the UK £105 billion per annum. Also 90% of British employees claimed to have suffered from stress. Most people (6 out of 10) said they were still afraid to disclose a mental health problem to their employer.

It is timely then that we sponsored our pilot training event on brain power and mental well-being last week at Dorchester Art Centre. This is a collaborative event between TakeArt, a pioneering arts charity group and Training for Results. ‘Play on Your Mind’ is an innovative concept that mixes drama and training to demonstrate to employers how the quality of their thinking will determine the future quality of their business. It also makes them more aware of the importance of protecting the mental resilience of their team.

Mark Helyar, Co-Director of TakeArt, explained; “I bring the creative drama that stimulates the right hand side of the brain, whilst Rosie Barfoot, brings the facts and research information that the left hand side of the brain likes. This means together we create a strong whole brain learning experience.”

Through the story of manager, Sam Marsh (Angela Smith), dealing with the under performance of her supervisor, Les Davis (David Reakes), delegates are encouraged to improve performance and relationships, whilst recognising signs of mental ill-health. After the initial scene, the audience contribute as Sam’s ‘brain cells’, encouraging her to make better decisions and get a successful outcome. This is a powerful reminder that we can; if we choose to, change our life script, which we have sub-consciously written by the age of eight.

The feedback from the pilot was fantastic. We can now make sure the full event meets the needs of the business community. What it taught us was how hard it is to get employers to focus on the mental health issue rather than the work performance process. You need the mind set of both parties to be in a good place to have any chance of getting a successful result.

Four organisations that attended the pilot have committed to write a mental health policy and three have said they will sign up to Time to Change. This is the organisation promoting the reduction of stigma to mental ill-health in the workplace and is supported by people like Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax.

We hope that our words and ideas can change the situation for others in the future. Thank you Robin Williams for your inspiration.

If you wish to find out more about how Play on Your Mind can help your business, please email or phone 01305 261540.



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