The Code Green Campaign, a first responder-oriented mental health advocacy and education organization, is one of several supporters in launching a project utilizing theater performances to bring attention to suicide rates among EMS providers and the need to build trauma resilience. The organization would like responders to attend the show to offer feedback to help improve the performance, which draws from first responders' real stories.
First responders in emergency medical services (EMS) are ten times more likely to contemplate suicide than the national average. The most common reasons responders leave the field are burnout and psychological trauma as a result of repeated exposure to traumatic events. In partnership with the Code Green Campaign, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, the Yale School of Public Health and Faultline Ensemble, this project will develop a live original performance exploring experiences of trauma in EMS providers.
The devised performance will draw on experiences of first responders struggling with and finding paths through trauma. It will involve anonymous interviews, stories, artwork, and the artists' experience as health workers and creators of collaborative performances. It will be performed for the first time in mid-March 2019, in New Haven, Connecticut, and accompanied by a paper examining new methods of supporting first responders.
March 2019 performances are intended as an invitation for community feedback. These performances will be followed by a post-show discussion with the creators, and will include opportunities to provide written and spoken critiques and suggestions. Following these showings, Faultline Ensemble hopes to tour this performance to the field, bringing it to EMS and Fire training programs, ambulance services and EMS conferences and symposia. The project hopes to inspire new kinds of dialogue about responder support – dialogue that centers the firsthand experiences of providers, and draws ideas for future support structures from those currently serving in the field.
This project was originally conceived by Taiga Christie and Faultline Ensemble with the support of the CoHo Summer Workshop Lab residency in 2016. They receive funding from the Network of Ensemble Theatres Travel Grant program, the InnovateHealth Yale Fund, the Yale Public Health Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, the Tsai CITY Fund, and the Yale MacMillan Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement and Humanitarian Responses. They draw inspiration from the fields of community-based performance, narrative medicine, physical performance, trauma stewardship, drama therapy and theater of the oppressed. The project hopes to validate the unique struggles of first responders, and to celebrate the resilience, cohesion and pride that exist in the first responder community.
For more information, please contact Taiga Christie:
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Yale School of Public Health