According to a recent study, feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide are on the rise among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders across Washington state. In 2018, more than 1 in 3 kids experienced symptoms of depression and 1 in 5 considered suicide.
Addressing that growing problem is a goal of Ghosted, a new Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Program (ETP) produced by Seattle Children’s Theatre. Ghosted is being presented in high schools in Kaiser Permanente Washington’s core service areas, as well as nationally, during 2019. It’s available free of charge to schools where 50% or more of the students qualify for the free or reduced meal program.
Ghosted unfolds during a single day of high school, as 4 students navigate issues of friendship and honesty, leading them to share hard truths about their personal lives. Following these disclosures, the characters take the first steps toward resiliency, personal strength, and mutual support.
“Ghosted allows us the opportunity to use theater as a catalyst for conversations about mental health with young people,” says Courtney Sale, artistic director for Seattle Children’s Theatre. “We are grateful to be working alongside Kaiser Permanente to amplify these critical conversations.”
Teaching through theater for 30+ years
Using theater to communicate important health messages to kids is not new for Kaiser Permanente. The organization has been presenting plays since the 1980s, tackling topics ranging from self-esteem and healthy eating to HIV.