“Walk In Our Shoes”

Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend two presentations of “Walking In Our Shoes” performed by two young women and two young men from Sacramento. They deliver these presentations throughout California and they are funded by CalMHSA which is an organization funded by counties to do statewide work on stigma/discrimination, student mental health and suicide prevention.  The group performed for 5th and 6th graders at Clifford Elementary in Redwood City and for 4th-8th graders at Roosevelt School also in Redwood City. It was a very engaging and entertaining performance with each of the 4 actors telling a story about bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, eating disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (all true stories). In addition to educating on what these particularly disorders are, they focused on the harmful effects of labeling, bullying, and ostracizing. They also demonstrated how one can get help from peers, family, professionals and other trusted adults.

As the performance went on I was particularly interested in how the students (and the teachers) were reacting to the messages. I was really impressed with how attentive the audiences were. After the performance the actors conducted a question and answer session that reinforced the messages from the skits.

All in all this was a really effective way of introducing these difficult topics to students and faculty. I want to thank the principals from both schools for agreeing to host these events, and to the actors who did such a nice job. If you want more information go to www.walkinourshoes.org.

Since the “Walk In Our Shoes” did focus on stigma, I want to remind everyone that September is Recovery Happens month. I would encourage everyone to attend one or more of the scheduled events and to think about 1 thing that you can do to lessen stigma in our community starting with simple acts of kindness to one another.

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