The Other End of the Line

The Other End of the Line

Commissioned piece about Culture and the Mental Health Profession

This piece was commissioned by the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in partnership with The MT Space and the 2006 Interdisciplinary Studies graduate class at the University of Guelph.

This is a twenty-minute theatre piece based on research by the CCBR about the barriers that face immigrants and people of cultural minorities from accessing the Canadian Mental Health systemand the challenges that this system encounter in response to cultural diversity. Through a mix of lighthearted and poignant scenes, accompanied by live drumming and vocals, the piece highlights the disconnect between the under- resourced, overwhelmed and highly institutionalized and medicalized Mental Health system on one hand, and the cultural communities that do not identify with, understand, or trust the system on the other. The play identifies issues of immigration, including, language barriers, lack of social support, cultural differences and loss of credentials as main reasons behind high stress levels and other mental health problems.

The Other End of the Line received a jubilant standing ovation when it was first performed at the CURA Conference titled “Taking Culture Seriously in Community Mental Health” at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo for a packed audience of mental health professionals, researchers, social service providers and leaders of cultural groups and organizations. The play has toured afterwards to several conferences and community forums in Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Guelph, in addition to a video presentation in Lisbon, Portugal. The Other End of the Line continues to receive strong audience responses, and overwhelming praise.

The play toured to ten cities across Ontario in 2010.