Sounding off and checking in on youth mental health
Vichealth and Mushroom Group have joined forces to launch a new platform featuring Australian musicians openly sharing their personal mental health and wellbeing experiences in a bid to help young people feel less alone.
The Sound Check initiative, which went live yesterday (Wednesday, October 14), comes in the wake of a VicHealth survey that reveals four in 10 young people aged 18 to 24 have found it hard or very hard to stay connected with family and friends during the pandemic – higher than the average for all Victorians (three in 10).
Sound Check features a series of videos with honest reflections from Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers), Adrian Eagle, Jesse Teinaki, Francoistunes, Teischa and Merpire.
These young musicians share their personal insights into how they have navigated some difficult times, as well as how they use music as a creative outlet.
This year, Teinaki finished in the top eight of TV singing contest The Voice. There was a time he was stuck in a bubble and didn’t enjoy life as he suffered from serve depression and anxiety.
“My mantra is MLB – Make Life Better,” he said. “I want to share my experiences and wellbeing tools to connect with people and hopefully help them navigate their dark situations. Together we can make life better.”
More than 20 young people helped devise Sound Check by providing input to the website and interviewing musicians about how they coped with mental health challenges, and the different strategies they used to support their wellbeing.
Among them was 19-year-old Ally Lynch from Melbourne. She said it was comforting to see musicians candidly talk about their mental health challenges on camera.
“I’m someone who loves music and enjoys singing and dancing, so I look up to musicians as role models. Hearing them talk about what they’re going through, especially in the pandemic, makes you realise they also have their challenges, so you feel less alone. It helps reduce the stigma around mental health.”
VicHealth chief executive officer Dr Sandro Demaio said it was concerning that many young Victorians found it difficult to socially connect with their friends, family and community during the pandemic.
“As we adapt to a COVID-normal, let’s support all Victorians to create meaningful social connections – important for mental wellbeing.
“The incredible artists featured across the Sound Check platform can help young Victorians feel less alone, and encourage them to open up about their mental wellbeing and stay connected.”
For more information, head to soundcheck.net.au.