ReachOut Psychosis performer Susan Nase and the Vancouver music group Froghead rocked out at Port Hardy Secondary School and North Island Secondary School on Nov. 16.
Froghead opened up the show with some live music before Nase, an accomplished dancer who currently lives in Vancouver, introduced the high school audience to their psychosis awareness cause.
In order to give students a better understanding of psychosis, Nase and the members of Froghead played interactive games with them in-between musical sets, inviting the students to physically participate and have fun while learning facts about mental illness.
The first interactive game they played had a student hold a styrofoam head with a bucket on top of it representing the human brain.
They placed balls into the bucket to show how our brains can be filled up too much at once. The student then got to dump the bucket out when it became too full, sending balls rolling across the gymnasium floor.
After Froghead played another tune, Nase invited a student to come down and participate in a dance off. Nase went first, demonstrating some skillful moves, and then it was the students turn. She danced around as her high school peers cheered her on to victory.
Another interactive game they played was where they invited a student to tell the audience how her day was going while at the same time, five other volunteers distracted her with loud noises and funny movements, effectively showing the audience what psychosis can feel like.
Nase then asked the audience if they'd find this to be distracting and how it would make them feel, which was a clear message of empathy and understanding for those dealing with mental illness.
Near the end of the concert, Nase and the members of Froghead drove home some facts about psychosis. They talked about the issue of self medication, how everyone who deals with psychosis goes through it in a different way, that early recognition and making smart everyday choices like eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, and staying away from drugs and alcohol can help prevent the onset of the medical condition.
They also touched on natural endorphins and environmental protectors that can help keep you healthy, like music, dance, and sports. They concluded by asking the students if they had any questions and then answered them all before Froghead blasted out one last song.
As the audience filed out of the gym, this reporter asked Nase what she finds most rewarding about getting to talk to students, and she replied that it's when "students come up after the concert and talk to us and share personal experiences about how the show has helped them deal with psychosis."
For more information on ReachOut Psychosis, Susan Nase and Froghead, check out the website www.reachoutpsychosis.com.