Mental Health experiences will be turned to art during Semicolon Week


The Appalachian Online

Erin O'Neill, Reporter

Wellness and Prevention Services will host the y(OUR) Story collaborative production on March 27. The event, previously known as Mental Health Monologues, will give students a chance to anonymously submit their personal stories about struggles with mental health.

Roy Dale Cox, senior double major in theatre performance and political science, said the main topic of y(OUR) Story is mental health. He and Hannah Magee, sophomore theatre performance major, will take individual’s stories and transform them into different types of art. They have about 10 submissions so far and hope to include dance, visual art, slam poetry and monologues, Cox said.

“y(OUR) Story gives people a way to release their story without attaching their name to it,” Magee said.

Cox and Magee serve as directors of the event, the planning committee and story collectors. They are advised by Elisabeth Cavallaro, coordinator for student mental wellness.

Magee, who conceptualized the event, said she was inspired to tell stories through different art mediums because “sometimes a monologue isn’t going to reach a person as much as a dance, or a piece of art or a poem.”

“I think the whole point of all of this is to show that mental health is something we need to be aware of, and we definitely need to take care of ourselves,” Magee said.

The event, held in the Blue Ridge Ballroom in Plemmons Student Union, is still in its beginning stages,  Magee said.

Cox said anyone is welcome to perform in the event, but those interested should know there is commitment involved.

“We want to make sure performers know what they’re talking about because last year we dealt with some pretty intense topics, like depression and schizophrenia,” Cox said. “We want it to be true to life, and we want people to take it seriously because it is a production, not a karaoke night, and we want those performers to be really invested.”

Cox also said the experience can be beneficial not only for performers, but also those who submit their narratives, providing them with a freeing way to tell their stories without their name attached to it.

“I think it’s important for people to come because they need to know the importance of talking about mental health,” Cox said. “It’s something you never want to talk about and when people are talking about mental health they say mental health illnesses, but we all struggle with our mental health in some kind of way so I think that’s important to bring to the surface.”

Cox and Magee also said their goal is to incorporate all submissions into the performance.

This event is part of Semicolon Week, which is put on by Wellness and Prevention Services, and y(OUR) Story submissions will be accepted until Nov. 15.

Story by Erin O’Neil, News Reporter