According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26.2 percent of people (57.7 million people) in the U.S. suffer from mental disorders.
Brock Ward, sophomore and college scholar studying Theatre as Therapy, suffers from borderline personality disorder. But, instead of trying to ignore the problem, he decided to write a play called "Homebound: A Play For Nobody."
"I wanted something in my own language that could express what it felt like to be diagnosed with a mental disorder," Ward said.
With the support of his friends and All Campus Theatre, or ACT, Ward will hold a play reading of "Homebound" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Clarence Brown Theatre Lab Theatre, off of Pedestrian Walkway.
"This is a staged play reading," Ward said. "But it will have action, music and lighting. It's not just going to be people sitting around with books."
The play is an identity play about a girl named Nobody, who thinks that she is nothing, and her struggle to become somebody. Each of the characters have to earn their names to become people.
"The play is really about self-discovery," Ward said. "And I hope that in Nobody's journey to find herself, the audience finds that as well."
Back in June, Ward wrote the first draft of Homebound in two weeks, using all of his down time to write. After the first draft was completed, he sent it to friends and teachers to read and help revise it.
"There weren't as many uplifting parts to the first draft," McKinley Merritt, a sophomore studying educational interpreting with a minor in theatre, said. Merritt is playing the part of Nobody, the protagonist.
The play started out as a one-act play, but after about six months of revisions, it has turned into a 90 minute play with two acts.
Brock has created his own major through the college scholars in the hopes of helping people that suffer from similar disorders. This play is a huge step in that direction.
"I've learned a lot about depression from a first hand point of view," Merritt said. "It's a lot different to be someone that is dealing with it than it is to see someone go through it, especially having a character that is representing it."
This understanding is exactly what Ward was looking for when he decided to try to help people suffering from the same condition, and he plans to write more plays like it in the future.
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Ward will propose "Homebound" to ACT and hopefully get it produced as one of the plays ACT will be putting on this semester.
After this semester, Ward hopes that he will have a polished final draft of the play, and he will try to get it published. Once published, he will try to get his play produced in the surrounding area of Knoxville or Chattanooga.
This play isn't just for people suffering from mental disorders. Ward wants to educate everyone about the struggles of more than a fourth of people in the U.S., and "Homebound: A Play For Nobody" is the first step.