Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Minding Your Mind

Name of Innovative Program: 
Mental Health Awareness Stage Productions and Speaker Series
Sponsoring Organization
Minding Your Mind
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Trish Larsen
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 

The project is a collaboration between ichoose2live and Minding Your Mind.

The interactive workshops are designed for youth participants ages 12 to 24, and can be customized to fit the needs of your school, university or program. All packages include anti bullying and mental health education. Topics addressed include, family issues, depression, substance abuse and suicide. The production includes a dramatic presentation followed by a young adult speaker who relates real life experience to issues addressed in the play.  A Q and A session follows. The assembly includes the award winning stage play “When the Smoke Cleared”, and an open forum facilitated by a young mental health advocate for students to express concerns, ask questions, and share ideas. The workshops may also include other short creative presentations and/or special guest speakers.

The productions will take place primarily on high school and college campuses but can be adapted to fit any venue that attracts teens, young adults their families.


Creativity and Innovation: 

The productions include a interactive, theater based program inspired by teen drug abuse, bullying and teen suicide that aims to change the attitudes and behaviors of youth participants by:

  1. Presenting engaging information facilitated by trained professionals
Utilizing peer actors responsible for depicting relatable storylines.
  3. Providing tools necessary for students to make healthier decisions.

“When the Smoke Cleared” examines taboo issues experienced by young adults such as bullying, suicide, parenting, sex and drug abuse. It cleverly portrays the lives of young men and women maneuvering through life, making decisions, seeking acceptance, and trying to find their place in the world.


“When the Smoke Cleared” made me realize my life is important.” – Josh Davis, Student

“It was phenomenal!” – Sheinelle Jones, Fox News

“It was powerful and moving!” – Jamaal Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

“It was exhilarating- the performances were both raw and honest. Amazing show!”


 iChoose2live has worked closely with over 30 schools, organizations, churches, and camps to produce and present theater-based campaigns, videos, workshops, and events to increase awareness of sexual and mental health issues to over 4,500 adolescents and adults and has rapidly emerged as a leader and partner in youth empowerment in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Since 2006, Minding Your Mind has developed grown and improved school based mental health education programs. The programs are aimed at middle schools, high schools and the community at large.  Last year we completed 335 presentations across 100 schools in the area. Both ichoose2live and Minding Your Mind have multiple collaborative relationships throughout the region. The programs can be tailored to fit the needs of individual audiences. The collaborative serves as a model that encourages other organizations to design similar initiatives. 


The programs are sustainable until funding is depleted. All necessary relationships are well established and organizational structures are in place.

Once the actors are chosen and the roles are mastered, the productions can go on indefinitely if funding is available. Minding Your Mind has access to six professionally trained young adult speakers as well as a professional staff,  Board of Directors and community collaborators that can be relied upon for  the real life experience and guest speaker portion of the production.  Some of the long term relationships include, Temple University, Public Health Management Corporation, Director of Prevention Services Drexel Medical School, long standing relationships with area actors and production staff, access to area Mental Health experts and long term ongoing relationships with multiple middle schools, high schools and colleges through the five county region.


This innovative initiative can be duplicated using the same model as a guide in any organization that has similar organizational and resource capacity.

The production is complete and all necessary elements are in place. ichoose2live and Minding Your Mind would be available to help train other organizations to execute the model as long as funding is available.


Both Minding Your and ichoose2live use surveys to measure learning and evaluate the programs.

The responses are overwhelming positive for this joint initiative.

A unique survey was created specifically for this production.