The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education’s overarching ambition is to reduce the stigma of mental illness, that has been a barrier for individuals, families, and communities receiving much-needed support. The institute aims to provide resources and hope to those that struggle with mental illness, and to those who support them. NRCI strives to educate people on mental health issues through various outreach programs, as well as the our annual conference.
Many veterans report feeling misunderstood by their neighbors, family members, and lifelong friends when they return from service. This often causes veterans to reintegrate into their communities. The Telling Projective is an innovative approach that uses storytelling to build dialogue between individuals who have served in the military and the civilian community. Veterans and their family members step forward as performers, and share their stories. These performances are powerful, and address many important issues in our current culture including military sexual trauma, violence, racial and gender issues and socioeconomic inequalities.
The Telling Project has been collaborating with communities across the country since 2008. The transformative power of their performances is reflected in their cumulative outcome data:
- 89% of non-military-affiliated civilian respondents felt connected to those who share their stories onstage
- 96% of non-military-affiliated civilian respondents felt they could understand why the performers would act the way they did in the situations they described
- 79% of non-military-affiliated civilian respondents agreed that The Telling Project performance they attended changed their perspective on military experience, veterans, and military personnel
- 72% of non-military-affiliated civilian respondents wanted to learn more about the experiences of military members in their communities
- 84% of non-military affiliated civilian respondents affirmed they had learned something new about military or military service
The Telling Project has staged fifty productions in more than twenty-one different states, but has never been offered in Illinois; until now. The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education is partnering with The Telling Project and Piven Theatre to expand the production to Illinois, which has a significant veteran population. The goal is to utilize the performances to build bridges within communities. The performances will take place at the Piven Theater in Evanston the first two weekends in October.
For more information, visit The Telling Project’s website at https://thetellingproject.org.