Dear Evan Hansen talks Mental Health in Awareness Event

Tony-winning Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen facilitated a mental-health-focussed conversation and a sensational performance of “You Will Be Found” at the TIME’s headquarters on May 10 in concurrence with the Mental Health Awareness Month. The cast members, Steven Levenson (author to the original book), and representatives from a variety of relevant foundations joined forces with TIME to tackle grief, suicide, anxiety, and other mental issues in a thought-provoking manner, which undoubtedly left a lasting mark.

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Harold S. Koplewicz, who is the founding President of the Child Mind Institute engaged Levenson in a heartrending conversation regarding some of the pressing issues related to mental health and the role of Dear Evan Hansen in giving hope to patients. Their enlightening conversation was preceded with an introduction by Stacey Mindich (show’s producer), whereby she asserted that the show initially avoided associations with ‘suicidal music’ but later embraced their ability to address mental health stigmas consequent to shows unprecedented impact.

Levenson revealed that the character of Evan Hansen was developed after inspiration from the musical’s lyricist and co-writer, Benji Pasek, who explored the idea after witnessing the challenges of kids in his high school. If you are not familiar with the Broadway show, Evan Hansen is a character who is continually unable to connect with others or break through the social barriers in his life. Levenson explained that Evan is intended to represent the desperation experienced while trying to connect. In particular, Levenson claims that the impact of the character is facilitated by questions such as, “ What would it mean to have a character who can’t connect? Why is he so unable to break through those barriers he sees all around him?”

The conversation went on to raise more in-depth queries regarding the stigmatization of people with a mental health condition and the relevance of the Broadway musical on the topic. Moreover, a couple of recognizable mental health professionals joined rising star, Rowan Blanchard (The Goldbergs, A Wrinkle in Time, Girl Meets World) to extend the conversation to include the impact of social media, unique challenges faced by minority groups, improving mental health awareness, and possible initiatives to enhance communal participation in caring for those with similar challenges to Evan.

The one-day event was capped off by an engagement with the audience and an entertaining yet emotional performance of “You Will Be Found” by the cast of Dear Evan Hansen. It’s not a surprise that this Broadway musical has captured the hearts of fans who relate to the show’s message.

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