Shedding light on mental health issues through theater

Erasing the Distance, a nonprofit arts organization that sheds light on mental health issues through theater, will explore the issues of depression, Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder during an upcoming performance at Harper College.

The event, which is free and open to the public, runs from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the J Theatre, Building J on the College’s main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

“We are interested in helping the campus community understand more about mental health issues in general and also believe this will be an excellent learning opportunity for both students and the community,” said organizer Debbie Reuter, an instructional program specialist in Harper’s Access and Disability Services office.

Founded in 2005, Erasing the Distance uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate and promote healing surrounding issues of mental health. ETD collects true stories from people whose lives have been impacted by mental health issues, and their actual words are sculpted into monologues and scenes by professional actors.

The organization performed at Harper a few years ago, and Reuter said attendees found it to be extremely moving.

Every performance is followed by a moderated, interactive dialogue with the audience that explores the play’s themes and, when appropriate, identifies mental illness signs, symptoms, recovery options and community resources. ETD also provides mental health literature from nationally recognized organizations free of charge so that audience members can access help if they need it.

For more information, contact Access and Disability Services at 847.925.6266 or

Last Updated: 11/3/21