School students in Basingstoke have been using drama as a way of exploring mental health issues.

Students across years 7 to 10 at Cranbourne School took part in a week-long residency run by Fluid Motion Theatre Company, which included workshops and team building exercises.

Mental health issues most common in young people such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders were among the topics discussed throughout the week.

The week ended with a showcase performance from each year group in front of teachers, friends and family.

Feedback has shown the experience improved the students’ knowledge of mental health issues by an average of 39 per cent and increased their understanding of where to go for support or advice.

Students also said it improved their ability to talk about their own or someone else’s mental health.

The residency is called the 1 in 10 Projectbecause statistically one in ten young people may experience a mental health problem.

Fluid Motion put on the residency as part of a year-long programme of outreach work that shines a light on mental health issues, which culminates in the All in the Mind Festival, taking place on 14 September.

Leigh Johnstone, Fluid Motion Artistic Director, said: “We've really enjoyed working with the teachers and students of Cranbourne School. There have been some excellent, thought-provoking discussions and performances throughout the week, and I am very pleased to see the feedback show that it has helped pupils explore mental health topics, increase understanding and encourage positive mental wellbeing.

“Drama and performing arts are able to encourage and support young people when exploring mental health, whether it's their own mental health or that of their friends and family. It's about doing something different and allowing young people the creative space to ask difficult questions.”

The All in the Mind Festival will take place at Eastrop Park on Saturday 14 September. More than 30 exciting theatre, dance, visual art and musical acts will take part and explore topics such as anxiety, abusive relationships, self-harm and the challenges of caring for people who experience mental health issues. There will be many activities and performances suitable for younger audiences as well.

The All in the Mind Festival first started in 2016 with 79 visitors and last year’s event saw more than 1,300 people attend. The 2019 event promises to be the biggest and best yet and has received nearly £30,000 of funding from the Art’s Council.

As part of the year-long outreach programme, Fluid Motion also run a volunteering training programme to help people build confidence when working; and carrying out performances in a care home for people with dementia. The team repeats the same performances at the residence bedside, every week, for five weeks, to see if it helps improve their condition.

People wanting to attend the All In The Mind Festival must register for their free tickets at