VicHealth and Mushroom Group have joined forces to launch SOUND CHECK – a new platform featuring Australian musicians openly sharing their personal mental health and wellbeing experiences with young people, in a bid to help them feel less alone.
The initiative comes as a VicHealth survey reveals 4 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 – significantly more than the average for all Victorians (3 in 10*).
VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said it’s 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,” he said.
“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,” said Dr Demaio.
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 Jesse Teinaki finished in the top 8 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.
Focused on bringing positivity into his life, Teinaki explains, “My mantra is MLB – Make Life Better. 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,” he says.
Over 20 young people helped devise SOUND CHECK by providing input to the website and interviewing musicians about how they cope with mental health challenges, and the different strategies they use to support their wellbeing.
Among them was 19-year-old Ally Lynch from Melbourne. She said it’s 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,” she said.
“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,” said Lynch.
From Wednesday 14 October2020, a new episode will be released weekly via the SOUND CHECK website and social media channels. For more information, visit: www.soundcheck.net.au for details.
Image: Jesse Teinaki (supplied)
Note: * During the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020, VicHealth conducted the VicHealth Coronavirus Victorian Wellbeing Impact Study. The survey of 2,000 Victorians explores general wellbeing, social connection, healthy eating and physical activity according to age, gender, income, location and community.
Tips for dealing with anxiety and loneliness during the pandemic:
- Stay connected – keep in touch with your family, friends, colleagues by phone, video calls, social media or email.
- Stick to a routine – aim to get plenty of sleep, maintain physical activity, eat healthy foods, use self-care activities and allocate specific work hours and breaks.
- Rethink your media sources– find a healthy balance and limit news and social media if you find it too distressing.
- Access credible information – from government and health authorities, including the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Seek support – it’s ok to not be ok. Talking to a professional about what you’re going through can make a big difference. For support, contact Lifeline: 13 11 14, Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or Headspace: 1800 650 890.