Lifting the Fog: BrainDance winners cast a creative eye on mental health
For Patricia Brousseau, a senior at RHAM High School in Hebron, mental illness can seem like a fog that settles over someone's mind, darkening their spirit in ways that those around them cannot see.
“Always, always, the fog returns…Then one day, you find a lantern,” Brousseau wrote in an essay called “Fog” that won first place in the Art category for the Institute of Living’s 13th annual BrainDance Awards, which are given out annually to high school students who submit works on mental health issues.
Brousseau, whose award came with a $500 prize, recited her essay at the Institute of Living’s April 21 BrainDance award ceremony, which attracted a crowd of students, teachers, parents and other well-wishers from across the state.
Another first place winner was Emma Grimaldi from Coventry High School, who won in the Academic category for her report “Gender Dysphoria: A Revolutionary Transformation” examining the impact of discrimination on those who identify as transgender.
Also winning first place were Emily Denote and Hannah Grabowski from Bristol Eastern High School in the Mixed Media category for their video “A Road of Constant Fear,” which combined graphics and music and video to show the challenges faced by those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the Art category, second place went to Stanislav Yarmoussik of Fairfield College Preparatory School for his artwork “How Do You See Me” while third place was shared by Riley Trowbridge of Bristol Eastern High School for her essay, “Anorexia: Silently Crying Out” and Joseph Hopkins of Fairfield College Preparatory School for his essay “Eyes.”
“Always, always, the fog returns…Then one day, you find a lantern,”
- Patricia Brousseau, senior at RHAM High School
In the Academic category, second place went to Alexandra Smith of Norwich Technical High School for her report “Clinical Depression,” while third place was shared by Cheyenne Johnson of Norwich Tech High School for her report, “Listen to Autism,” and Shelline Jeanty of Norwich Technical High School for her report, “Stigmas Associated with Bipolar Disorder.”
In the Mixed Media category, second place went to Catie Allison of New Fairfield High School for her work, “Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” while third place went to Morgan Martin of Bristol Eastern High School for her work, “Stigma of Anxiety.”