Locally-Produced Play Educates Community on Mental Illness among African Americans

Written by admin   // August 2, 2010   // 0 Comments

As part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness month, NAMI Greater Milwaukee (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has announced the upcoming presentation of Pieces: In My Own Voice, a play intended to educate and deliver information to African Americans coping with mental illness.

Actors from various Milwaukee community theatres will perform Pieces on Saturday, August 14th at 3:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at North Division High School, 1011 West Center Street, Milwaukee.

The event is free of charge and the public is welcome to attend. After the play there will be a question-and-answer session, a resources table and depression screening.

Pieces is just one component of the successful ASK (Access, Support & Knowledge) program, which was developed by NAMI Greater Milwaukee in response to troubling signs of growing mental health challenges in the African American community.

As part of the ASK program, NAMI Greater Milwaukee makes various resources available, including providing a presentation free of charge upon request for churches, civic groups, schools and other community organizations.

Since the formation of ASK in 2007, more than 100 ASK presentations have provided information to more than 4,000 participants.

Brenda Wesley, a trained mental health education facilitator, conducts the ASK presentations and wrote Pieces.

Brenda knows first-hand about the struggles faced by African Americans dealing with mental illness. Two of her closest family members live with mental illness.

“Pieces will captivate and engage the audience by bringing them into the world of persons living with a mental illness.  The audience will journey through a crisis, self acceptance and recovery,” Wesley said.

“The stories are told through monologues that cover a wide range of mental health diagnoses.  We weave educational messages throughout the show that have been delivered through the ASK program.”

In related news, NAMI Greater Milwaukee announced that Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant will serve as the organization’s official spokesperson. Grant will lend his voice to recorded public service announcements and participate in other promotional efforts on behalf of NAMI.

“Ryan is committed to helping the community understand the impact of mental illness and point folks in the right direction to get help,” Wesley said. “We can’t thank him enough for being willing to give of his time to support NAMI’s efforts.”

If you have any questions, contact NAMI Greater Milwaukee at 414.344.0447 or visit www.namigrm.org.


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