Libby Devereux, Wellbeing Project Manager, on National Youth Theatre's journey to become a trauma-informed organisation.
"The National Youth Theatre has set out on a journey to become a trauma informed organisation. We recognise that people’s lived experience can affect their ability to function and achieve mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. By developing and deepening our trauma-informed practice we hope to create a space of healing, empathy, and understanding of people’s support needs, both for the young people of NYT and the staff and freelancers we work with.
In line with our aspiration to become a trauma-informed, brave space organisation, we recognised the challenges faced by individuals as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current economic climate and began to reflect on our progress and what more we could be doing.
We commissioned research from the Centre for Mental Health to review our practice and approaches, to benchmark our work with other youth-focused and/or arts organisations, and to make recommendations for improvement and development. The Centre for Mental Health recognised our commitment and experience in supporting mental health and wellbeing within our creative practice over recent years and included in their recommendations the opportunity to begin working towards a trauma-informed silver quality mark, accredited by One Small Thing. Through this quality mark, we will be reviewing our practice to ensure we embrace trauma-informed standards and a person-centred approach to healing.
At the National Youth Theatre we want to create a culture that is inclusive, creative and collaborative. We celebrate all the ways we are different and aim to create an environment where everyone can thrive and do their best work. We acknowledge the benefits that art and creativity can have on individuals mental health and wellbeing. By becoming Trauma Informed we aim to eliminate the barriers young people experience when accessing our creative opportunities.