Acting Out: Enabling Meaningful Participation Among People With Long-Term Mental Health Problems in a Music and Theater Workshop

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In this article, we explore what enables meaningful participation in a music and theater workshop from a first person’s perspective of people with mental health problems. The study uses a hermeneutical-phenomenological approach. Data were collected from qualitative in-depth interviews with 12 participants in a music and theater workshop located in a Norwegian mental health hospital. Data were analyzed through thematic analysis. Two overarching themes were identified: (a) room for dignity and (b) a creative arena. This study indicates that to enable participation for people with long-term mental health problems, it is important to facilitate activities that are flexible, person centered, and resource oriented, in which participants have the possibility to participate regardless of symptoms, functional ability, or whether they are hospitalized. In addition, having professionals who believe in creative growth and offer an illness-free zone that belongs to the participants in a hospital setting is of great importance.

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