Community solutions to prevent public health problems - Santé Communitaires Seclin

Community well‐being initiative through acting


The overall action is part of a community well-being initiative involving elected officials, health and social services professionals and the inhabitants of a city, more specifically a given neighbourhood classified as a sensitive zone ("Zone Urbaine Sensible"), in the framework of city policies ("politique de la ville"). The primary objective is to set up synergies among different health or wellness skills and giving beneficiaries the role of fully-involved actors. The targeted activity concerns "self esteem" using theatre as a vector, led by an actress trained in "non-violent" communication and in the Theatre of the  Oppressed (Forum Theatre).

Each year in the territory a "Faites de la Santé" (a sort of "well-being" festival) is held, to communicate on the actions conducted over the year, and to discuss a cross-sector issue. In 2007, the proposed topic was self esteem (an integral part of the project). After several sessions, some inhabitants expressed their wish to continue the process and asked us to set up a long-term activity to support expression and mutual understanding. The active network helped us to call in a professional actress to lead the group and about ten inhabitants as members of the workshop.

The innovation is that the inhabitants themselves run the workshop. An actress is there to facilitate dialog. She uses the stage as a free expression platform. The theatre work centres around the problems and issues proposed by the inhabitants (linked to wellness topics). Because of this, it is very much appreciated by the local public. Self esteem is a central theme in the approach to good health. It reflects the wish of the inhabitants to be involved in health issues, and they cannot imagine an approach to community well-beinh without working on self esteem. This work also helps to develop psycho-social skills as defined by the W.H.O.: "Learning to solve problems, make decisions, develop creative thinking, critical thinking, effective communication, human relations skills, to be self-aware and have empathy for others, and to manage your own stress in order to deal with emotions”



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