Sophia feels stifled by boarding school life, has a poor body image and struggles to control her mood. Matt is consumed with anxiety about his impending exams. Tash is haunted by memories of a traumatic childhood. In the long summer after GCSEs these three very different teenagers strike up an unlikely friendship at a music festival. They’ve been to different schools, had different friendship groups and have led very different lives. As they share their stories it becomes clear that they have one thing in common – they have used self-harm as way to cope with their feelings. Hidden tells the story of the recovery of these three very different teenagers as they struggle with their mental health and self-harming behaviour.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there has been a threefold increase in the number of young people who self-harm in the UK. With up to one in five 15-year-olds saying they self-harm and the NHS reporting a rise of 30% in the number of children (between 10 and 14) being treated by the NHS as a result of self-harm, this timely play offers an insight into this unhealthy behaviour as well as hope that recovery is not only possible but desirable.
Designed to debunk some of the unhelpful myths surrounding self-harm and enable teenagers to get the help that they need for themselves and their peers to find healthier ways to manage their emotions, this play was developed by youth arts charity Peer Productions in consultation with clinical experts as a direct response to requests from young people and the teachers and youth workers who support them.
Peer Productions has worked with Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Mental Health and Wellbeing lead for the PSHE association to develop a Teachers' Pack designed to work alongside the play. This contains materials and resources for supporting lessons as well as suggestions and recommendations for working with this challenging topic.
Nina Lemon is a playwright, theatre maker and social entrepreneur. In 2006, she founded youth arts charity Peer Productions dedicated to transforming young people’s lives through theatre.