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In recent years we've seen greater acceptance and communication around the topic of mental health. We've also seen a growing number of initiatives aimed at reducing stigma and increasing support for people who are struggling with mental health issues.

During the month of October, communities across NSW will come together and hold events to celebrate Mental Health Month, which coincides with World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October. This year the focus is on sharing the journey: promoting positive social connections to help people cope with mental health issues, build resilience, and improve their wellbeing.

Bullying, and in particular cyberbullying, can have a serious impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Students involved in cyberbullying have poorer mental wellbeing [1], and higher levels of anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, and substance abuse [2]. 

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Brainstorm Productions’ travelling theatre groups for schools have been captivating hundreds of thousands of children across Australia for thirty years. Here’s why. 

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play,” says Philip Pullman, children’s author and winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Picture books, and later, fiction form the bedrock of our childhood. Many of us not only remember the exact picture from a favourite book we read before bed as a child, we remember the thoughts and emotions we experienced at that time. Picking up the book years later is like looking into a crystal ball, and being sucked back into our past. It’s a direct link to who we were as kids.

Likewise, we hear a song on the radio we haven’t listened to since childhood, and we can recall every word, and can anticipate the next note. 

Theatre is the ultimate immersive art form, targeting every sense simultaneously. It makes complete sense then that the only memory I have of the Year Two split classroom is sitting in the audience at Ross Hill Public School, in Inverell, watching Brainstorm Productions’ H-Team. My memory typically isn’t that great, yet I remember the buttery colour of the room. Where I was sitting in relation to the rest of the kids. Where the teachers stood. The bright colours the actors wore. The words they spoke. The tunes they sang. How I felt at the time. Just as you recall key details about the absolutely best Christmas you ever had as a kid, Brainstorm’s primary school productions leave a strong imprint on your memory.

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On Friday 17th March, Brainstorm Productions will be working with schools across the nation to encourage all students to ‘take a stand together' against bullying and violence. 

Brainstorm Productions is proud to join forces with Bullying No Way and the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner to promote zero tolerance to bullying. We give students who are struggling with feelings of anxiety and fear strategies to deal with face to face and online bullying and the courage to speak up and seek help. Research has also identified the significant negative impacts on those who bully and those who witness bullying. We use theatre to show the perpetrators the consequences of their behaviour and give them skills to change their negative habits into positive behaviours. 

With Brainstorm Productions shows sold out well in advance for the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on Friday 17th March, many schools are running events leading up to the day or afterwards, so they can include theatre as part of their school‘s activities. Why? Read teacher testimonials by clicking here and discover why 99.7% of teachers would recommend Brainstorm Productions.

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School is back, after weeks of unstructured play, lounging around the swimming pool, and plunging into the ocean. Days with little to no structure are behind us, as parents prepare school lunches, and primary and secondary students pack their school bags, ready for school.

But how ready are students?

Associate Professor Stacey Walters, Associate Professor Leanne Lester and Professor Donna Cross suggest that transitioning into high school, or a new school can be a difficult time for some students.

According to their research, some of the key worries students have are:

how much homework they would have to complete

finding their way around or getting lost

classes being hard

unfamiliar teachers

and getting to class on time.

The Raising Children parenting website also suggests new students are worried about learning new routines, making new friends, and adjusting to increased workload.

So how can parents, teachers and educational theatre support young people starting at a new school for the first time, or transitioning into high school?

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White Ribbon Day 2014

Brainstorm Productions teamed up with Canterbury Girls High School and Girraween High School for White Ribbon Day 2014 on 25th November to help raise awareness and much needed funds to support White Ribbon Australia’s work to break the silence around violence. 

Violence against women is at epidemic proportions. Devastatingly, on average, one woman is killed every week in Australia as a result of partner violence. While death is at the pointy end of a broad spectrum, violence against women and girls encompasses verbal, emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuses, which all form part of a destructive cycle of violence.

The two Brainstorm Productions White Ribbon Day events held at Canterbury Girls High School and Girraween High School used educational theatre to address anti-social behaviour and how this can have a profound effect on student mental health and wellbeing. Students participated in a performance of ‘Cyberia’ which tackled digital violence in the form of cyber-bullying, one of the biggest threats to teenagers today.

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Posted by on in Bullying

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How have 1.7 million Australian students learnt how to use effective conflict resolution, manage their anger and look at violence and bullying in a new light? From engaging with our 'Sticks & Stones K-6’ and 'Sticks & Stones Yrs 7-10’ school programs. 

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Bullying is a difficult issue for schools everywhere. Research from the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘Census at Schools’ survey shows that bullying is now the #1 issue for Australian school kids, and with the average weekly time schoolchildren spend on a computer jumping from 3 hours in 2006 to 13 hours in 2013, there has been a correlating increase in kids struggling and falling victim to cyber bullying. 

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Technology and social media is all around us and can be used to great effect, however things can easily turn and you can’t always press “undo”. Brainstorm Productions has a range of cyber bullying programs that look at the risks and impacts of the world online on the very real world of primary school and high school students.

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