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Committed to smashing mental health stigma

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 was ‘let nature in’. It’s pretty difficult to let nature in when you are being held against your will in a room with the windows bolted shut. For Wellington comedian, storyteller, and former psych ward resident, Clarissa Chandrahasen, being locked up was a reality. Putting a human face to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, award-winning theatre show Committed returns for its BATS debut.

The future of mental and emotional support in Aotearoa is under the spotlight with a government inquiry into our Mental Health & Addiction services. Concurrently, there is the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s aspirational goal to eliminate the use of seclusion by 2020. That latter being personally relevant to Chandrahasen’s story. “Connection with people is one of the keys to recovery from mental distress. Seclusion only serves to add to that trauma. My experience of the Mental Health System was something I needed to recover from,” says Chandrahasen.

Not only has she recovered, Chandrahasen is living a dream that the medical profession shrugged off as a delusion - turning her story into an award-winning solo show. With passion, wit and glitter, Committed is a story of recovery for those suffering, their supporters and frontline health care providers. “I consider Committed my contribution to the fight for more compassionate mental health care in this country.”

Committed is back by popular demand after a sold-out season and winning the Parkin Development Award, with Chandrahasen being nominated for Most Promising Emerging Artist, at the NZ Fringe Festival 2018. Her brave and informative show has lots of laughs and surprises not to be missed. Expect to be enticed by an orange k-bar at a wondrous slumber party!

Committed runs for five nights only from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th November, 8pm at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce. It is written by and starring Clarissa Chandrahasen and directed by Tabitha Arthur. Tickets are $14-$20 and are available through bats.co.nz.


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