One of the toughest challenges for people living with mental health issues, is finding healthy forms of expression. For some, this can be painting or sculpting, for others, it might be dance – but for a group of patients in Rio de Janeiro, theatre has become the ultimate way to explore their emotions and experiences.

Members of the Nise da Silveira Psychiatric Hospital - many of whom have diagnoses of severe schizophrenia and chronic psychosis – have been working with Shakespearean texts as a way of coming to terms with the challenges they face daily.

Mental health activist Vitor Pordeus believes that theatre allows an exploration of relationships which can be restricted outside the perimeters of the stage – and that Hamlet, with its varied mental states and complicated relationships, is of particular use.

Although Vitor’s programme is somewhat extreme, and in some regards, dangerous – he doesn’t advise any medication – the general lesson remains. It is important for everyone, whether they are living with mental illness or not, to find a way to channel their inner fears and furies.

At Aspire, we try and incorporate social and leisure activities in to our residential care programme, precisely because we believe every individual should be encouraged to find their own way of exploring their life experiences. Our individualised service means that we take the time to find out the best outlets for our residents, whether that be Shakespeare or painting.

For more information on our residential care options, visit