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Table 1 Example 1, Fear and Shame: Using theatre to destigmatize mental illness in an Australian Macedonian community

From: A framework for preferred practices in conducting culturally competent health research in a multicultural society

Overview of the research How we conducted the research Outcomes
Fear and Shame: Using theatre to destigmatize mental illness in an Australian Macedonian community [36.27]
This study evaluated an innovative mental health promotion initiative in which applied theatrea was used to promote mental health literacy and reduce stigma within the Macedonian community
Qualitative data from earlier studies and professional experience of the bilingual mental health clinician and playwright were used to create the in-language play, which capitalized on the strong history of theatre in the Macedonian community. Eight performances at three venues in Sydney and Wollongong were attended by approximately 1600 people
Funding source:
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Recruitment and consent: Participants were audience members recruited either retrospectively through Macedonian community groups or at the venue after the performance. Trained bilingual interviewers contacted potential respondents by telephone and obtained verbal consent. Interviews were conducted in Macedonian or English according to respondent preference
Data collection and analysis: Interviews with 236 audience members (including 76 with personal or family experience of mental illness) and 25 key informants (service providers and community leaders) were conducted 1–10 months after the play was performed. Respondents were asked about attitudes towards mental illness and help-seeking behaviour using the same questions asked in earlier research. Responses were recorded in either Macedonian or English and translated as necessary by the interviewer. Data were analysed and compared with data collected 6 years earlier
Findings: The play sparked a community conversation about mental illness and the key messages were well received. Over the period 2003–2009, the play contributed to more positive attitudes towards mental illness, a reduction in the stigma surrounding mental illness, and improved knowledge of mental health services. Respondents indicated greater willingness to seek help from health services and key informants reported greater service utilization after the play was staged
Significance and impact: The study demonstrated the value of applied theatre as a vehicle for mental health promotion in the Macedonian community. Following the play’s success, Fear and Shame was translated and culturally adapted for the Greek community, and used as a case study in an e-learning tool to enhance cultural competency of mental health clinicians. The project was a finalist in the NSW Health Awards, Promoting Health Category, 2010
  1. a“Applied theatre” refers to theatre used for educative and/or social change purposes