Sasha struggles with anxiety and her Grandad is living with dementia. Even so, they share a touching closeness, full of patience and loving despite the differences in their ages and outlooks. Together they explore the challenges of their medical conditions and the subject of clinical trials. As Grandad’s health deteriorates, however, and Sasha struggles to make sense of this, her confusions threaten to overwhelm her. Faced with decisions she now must make alone, what hopes can Sasha’s future hold?
Stage play with integrated workshop
Written by Ravi Thornton
Mentee writer Jack Hart
Directed by Trevor MacFarlane
Performed by Molly Lambert and John Smeathers
Scored by Victoria Hume
Produced by Ziggy’s Wish
Supported by Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester
Clinical Research Impact HSJ Award 2015 (shortlisted)
Simon Bland, Journalist: Trials of the Mind: An Interactive Look at Dementia and Mental Health Research
The aim of the day was to demystify clinical trial initiatives and dispel the myths surrounding dementia and mental health research. Each scene represented a different stage of dementia and/or mental health difficulty, and the immediate and long-term effects clinical trials can have on their progression. Sandwiched in between each scene were discussion sessions moderated by healthcare professionals, where viewers could dissect what they had seen and ask questions in a supportive and informed environment.
The ups and downs of Sasha’s Trial presented new angles through which to view the treatment of dementia and mental health problems, spurring a great many insightful questions from audience members. Once the day’s performance was over, representatives of the Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester invited attendees to participate in an overall Q&A, where the group could voice concerns, quiz experts on the truth behind clinical trial misconceptions and most importantly, get informed and factual answers. It was a fresh approach and looking around the room, one that clearly worked well.
The real gift offered by Trials of the Mind was its ability to humanise medical research. The day was inspirational and hit home a single overriding message: Understanding and investing in research and not being afraid of it, is the key to finding better results. Dementia and mental health issues may remain taboo topics in some circles, but Trials of the Mind showed us that they really don’t have to be.