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World Mental Health Day fell on 10th October (2017). To mark the occasion Inside Out UK put together an urban theatre production called P FOR PRESSURE, to raise awareness, confront the stigma, and to provide an unconventional perspective of severe mental health disorders.

In this production, we followed the journey of a talented young man who is working towards achieving his goal of being a successful Music Artist. Along his journey he was faced with many challenges including the on-going pressure from his mother to pursue the life that she missed out on.


We witnessed his successes. We witnessed his failures. It is clear that the combination of pressure, stress and micro-aggressions became detrimental to his mental health but his determination to win clouds his judgement which leads him to neglect the symptoms leading to self-destruction. This battle lead him on the painful road of self-discovery as he became diagnosed with a severe mental health condition that changed the rest of his life.


This drama production explored mental health themes including:

  • Chronic Stress

  • Psychosis

  • Paranoid Schizophrenia

  • Psychological distress in carers of people with mental health disorders

  • The effects of poor mental health education in communities

  • The effects of mental health on physical health

  • The role culture and Christianity can play on mental health

  • Suicide



Following the production, attendees were invited to attend our Q&A session with the cast, who were joined on stage by a Clinical Psychologist and Psychiatrist. This opportunity was for our audience to ask the panel questions about the content in the production, to discuss what can be done to ensure that people facing mental health challenges are supported and what can be done to reduce our risk of developing severe mental health disorders.


Q&A was hosted by:


P For Pressure - "Why I Got Involved"

Following graduation from medical school, I chose to specialise in Psychiatry due to my interest in people and their stories, my passion for progress and personal development and my commitment to tackling stigma towards those with mental health conditions. My training showed me that stigma exists not just amongst lay people, but even within the medical field itself. Inside Out UK are using the arts to highlight the fear and lack of understanding that often underpins stigma and causes delays in young people seeking support. Mental Illness is often shrouded in shame and this only adds to the agony of living through it. I believe that “P For Pressure" will act as a tool to unveil the face of mental illness; we will see it and discuss it for what it really is. In my eyes, it is an opportunity to expose and begin to clean out a wound that is growing deeper and deeper in this generation of young people.

I currently work within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and I've previously worked within adult services, so I have met many young people during transitional phases in their lives. I feel that "P For Pressure" offers a very realistic depiction of what it’s like  to strive for success in today's pressurised, over-stimulating world. It also exposes the fact that many young people are uncertain about the point at which they (or their loved ones) cross the border from stress to mental Illness and I really think this needs to be talked about. We need to put the days of silent struggles behind us and open some windows in the prisons that many people's minds have become.

Even as a mental health professional, reading the script and attending "P For Pressure" rehearsals has already reframed some of my thinking around mental health. I became privy to the full plot over a month ago and I am still digesting it all! This is not a show you’ll see and forget easily and, in my opinion, that is why it is well worth your time, money and efforts to be there. "P For Pressure" is a perfect blend of entertainment and education. It pulls on the heartstrings whilst getting those wheels in your mind turning. We may not solve a world of problems over the course of one production but it is undoubtedly worth beginning the process! Many people have begun speaking out and this is Inside Out UK’s contribution to the effort.

“P For Pressure” is showing on two separate nights – Saturday 7th October and Sunday 8th October at the Lost Theatre. It will consist of a production followed by a Q&A discussion that will allow the audience to interact with a panel of characters as well as mental health professionals, including me. Come for the entertainment, come for the enlightenment; please don’t miss this rare opportunity.

Dr Eleanor Akaho
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