Daybreak Theatre Project: a social enterprise designed to support young people’s mental wellbeing

Young people’s mental health has been a rising issue in recent years. In particular, their performance at school can be influenced by their state of wellbeing.

As part of Mind’s inquiry into secondary education and mental health, they consulted over 2,870 young people, parents/caregivers of young people affected by mental health problems, mental health professionals and school staff across England in 2021. 96% of young people surveyed reported that their mental health had affected their schoolwork at some point; whilst 62% of young people received no support from school for their mental health. In some cases, students have been disciplined at school for behaviour that was related to their mental health instead of being identified in need for professional support.

Existing solutions to this problem take on a range of approaches, from meditation apps to mental health support teams in schools and colleges. However, their influence remain limited due to 3 reasons:

Firstly, most educational resources remain on a theoretical level. For example, the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum teaches pupils how to recognise early signs of mental wellbeing concerns, and introduce them to support available. But the lack of application and connection to real life has let the knowlege slip away.

Second, support services for young people do not answer to their needs and could be inaccessible. Survey showed that young people feel uncomfortable reaching out for support or feel that their needs are not important enough for attention. As it is down to themselves to seek support, the reluctance amongst young people result in them not utilising support systems in place.

Lastly, a lot of measures are reactive. Early signs of wellbeing concerns are not addressed until it’s too late and has become a major problem especially post-COVID.

Daybreak Theatre Project, a social enterprise designed to support young people’s mental wellbeing

In response to these, I have started Daybreak Theatre Project. We support young people to build resilience by raising their awareness of mental wellbeing and equipping them with self-help tools. Our preventive approach utilises theatrical exercises and role play to encourage participants to link their learnings to real life scenarios.

Our approach is inspired by Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre, and aims to empower participants throughout the sustained periods where workshops take place. Participants will be able to journal and identify influences towards their behaviour, learn ways to intervene and evaluate its effectiveness.

This is a project under Enactus, which is a worldwide organisation that supports university students to tackle social issues through entrepreneurial projects. Enactus Surrey is a division of the organisation that operates as a student society. They offer students opportunities to initiate or be a part of social enterprise projects.

The project is currently in its research and development stage. If you are:

a University of Surrey, would like to be part of the team, or

a charity or business, would like to collaborate, or

a school, would like to receive the workshop,

Please contact us on

Stay tuned on this page and I will continue to post more information as I go along my entrepreneurial journey! And follow us on Instagram (@daybreaktheatre.project)💛