International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 6 Number 5

July 29, 2005

Flyboy: Using the Arts and Theater to Assist Suicidal Adolescents

Carol A. Mullen
University of South Florida

Margie Buttignol
St. John Catholic School
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

C. T. Patrick Diamond
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Citation: Mullen, C. A., Buttignol, M. & Diamond, C. T. P. (2005, July 29). Flyboy: Using the arts and theater to assist suicidal adolescents. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 6(5). Retrieved [date] from

This article integrates story and the form of qualitative methodology known as arts-based inquiry. The authors use this approach to provide a case study of Kal, a 15-year-old boy who had unsuccessfully attempted to end his life by “flying” off his apartment balcony. The paper begins with orientation to the background of this case and to arts-based inquiry and case history and then proceeds with an imaginative re-creation of the involvement of Margie, Kal’s caregiver, in this case in the form of a letter written in role by her as Kal to his mother. Finally, the authors discuss how arts-based representations can be used to positively affect mental health and to generate creative healing energy. In this presentation Kal is the leading character, and Margie, Kal’s real-life teacher in a hospital-based mental health unit in Ontario, Canada, is the supporting actress. Through dramatic fictionalization of her work with Kal, Margie found that “human learning can be renewed when teacher researchers use arts-based textual strategies to reflect on experience and invite others to respond to these inquiries” (Diamond & Mullen, 1999, p. 18).

This article is available in PDF format.

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