University of Western Australia: Music brings people together for Mental Health Week

The University of Western Australia, with the support of John Curtin College of the Arts and the Spirit of the Streets Choir, is once again proud to be part of Mental Health Week, which runs from October 9 to 16.

This year’s theme in Western Australia is ‘mental health starts with our children’ and aims to promote the importance of relationships and community.

The UWA Conservatorium of Music and John Curtin College of the Arts students, alongside Spirit of the Streets Choir, have come together to produce a video to connect and build friendships through music.

Bill Withers’ Lovely Day was chosen as a means of reminding young people of the importance of appreciating the little things in life.

The song features lead vocals by UWA student Lucinda Nicholls who, alongside the orchestra and choir, performs an arrangement by UWA’s Head of Music Professor Alan Lourens. The video was produced by Jesse Stack with videography by Scott Slawinski from Base Imagery.

As part of Mental Health Week everyone, all over the world, is encouraged to join community choirs, bands, community music making and appreciation groups because when all generations come together new friendships are found.

Professor Stephen Houghton, from UWA’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing Research Clinic, said one in five young Australians experienced a mental health problem in any given year; while a further nine-to-16 per cent experienced sub-clinical levels.

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with school closures, stay at home orders, social distancing and cancelling of extra-curricular activities has had further deleterious effects on young people’s mental health,” Professor Houghton said.

“The important role that friends, family and school play in protecting children’s mental health at all times cannot be over-emphasised.”

If you are experiencing moods, thoughts or behaviours that feel out of character for you, you can approach the following resources for assistance: Lifeline; Beyond Blue; Headspace; Youth Focus.

University Hall, UWA’s own residential college, and Mental Health WA also provided support for the project.