Connor Tarrant - part of performance group Mind Blank - role playing mental health scenarios for students.
Connor Tarrant - part of performance group Mind Blank - role playing mental health scenarios for students. Adam Hourigan

Theatre for the Mind Blank

WHEN Connor Tarrant discovered Mind Blank, he knew he had to be a part of it.

The organisation aims to help reduce the risk of suicide by helping young people identify warning signs and advocating positive mental wellbeing practices and increasing resilience through education.

Mr Tarrant first heard about Mind Blank's forum theatre at a youth inter agency meeting, and has now joined their acting troupe.

"We educate young people in depression awareness and suicide prevention through forum theatre," he said.

"We cover multiple topics, all the factors that can weigh in in someone becoming depressed or becoming suicidal, whether it's neglect at home or bullying.

"One of the pieces we do is about a young boy who is brought up with his step dad and he's got two new sisters in the family... things start to go sour when he's forced to go to a new school where he doesn't know anyone, and he starts to become depressed and it takes affect at home, it starts to (impact) his grades, they're dropping, his parents are staring to be harder on him until it all blows up and he runs away from home.

"There are so many factors that people don't realise can cause someone to be depressed or suicidal and we bring light to that in a way that is fun and interactive."

"Forum theatre is really audience-based, we run through the show and then we go back through key scenes and we get feedback from the audience to then explain to us, or give us an example, and then we act it out."

Audience participation helps the actors teach the young people how to react when they or the people around them have issues.

"We try to keep it

very realistic, to how

it is in life," Mr Tarrant said.

Recently Mr Tarrant was performing in Grafton at My Future Fest and in Yamba with Mind Blank.

For Mr Tarrant, who has experienced mental health issues himself, performing with Mind Blank is a brilliant opportunity to show that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

"When I was here in Grafton doing the shows, I felt like I'd gone away and done something with my life," he said.

"I want people to look at me and think 'wow if he can do it, I can do it'."

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