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ACM and Surrey Youth Focus tuning in to Mental Health through Music

ACM and Surrey Youth Focus tuning in to Mental Health through Music

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is proud to be working in collaboration with Surrey Youth Focus to get young people engaged in conversation about mental health through creating music together.  The project titled “Tuning In” was piloted with young people attending Woolmer Hill School in Surrey in collaboration with undergraduates at ACM Guildford, led by ACM tutor Leddra Chapman. The first music release through this platform “Behind Closed Doors” was inspired by the challenges many young people face with anxiety with all the lyrics penned by the young people involved.

"Mental health is a real issue people do not always tend to see. It controls young peoples’ thoughts, actions and emotions across the globe. Coming out of a period of depression, “Tuning In” gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts onto paper and make something that I could be proud of. For me it was taking a time of torment and creating something good from it.” James, student at Woolmer Hill School.

The main focus of “Tuning In” was to give young people a voice and platform where they can speak openly and freely about mental health.

Gordon Sweeney, Director of Strategy and Innovation at ACM said: “Here at ACM, we know that music has an incredible power to bring people together and is a great tool to speak about important issues such as mental health. ACM is proud to have an award-winning Student Support Team, so developing a project like this was a natural fit for us to continue our work to support young people’s mental health. Fostering good wellbeing is vital in the creative industries to build resilience in people that are at a greater risk of developing mental health issues, so it was brilliant to see our students getting involved and passing their musical skills on to the students at Woolmer Hill School in such a collaborative format.”

Gemma Fry, Senior Welfare Officer at Woolmer Hill School reflected “The psychological effects of music on mental health is incredibly powerful. Our students were able to work collaboratively and creatively through the art of songwriting, breaking down stigma relating to mental health. Many people will be feeling anxious and worried during this unprecedented time. But I encourage those who are feeling particularly low to reach out, as the lyrics say - “there are people there to help you” - for details of local organisations who can support you please visit www.acm.ac.uk/tuning-in

Beth Parsons Creative Artist Degree Student at ACM commented: "This project was a valuable experience for the young people as it allowed the students to express their feelings through songwriting. I also think it really helped them feel not so alone by hearing their lyrics / personal experiences sung together with their peers."

Speaking on behalf of the charity, Su Freeman said “This project has been a great way for young people to speak freely about mental health, whilst also exploring positive ways to support each other. While we still can’t come together in person, due to the Government's social distancing regulations, young people across Surrey are encouraged to pen their own song about mental health and promote the important message from this year's mental health awareness week #KindnessMatters. Creations can be shared via the hashtag #TuningInToKindness.\

All of those involved in this project have worked incredibly hard to produce such an outstanding piece of music which promotes the important message of kindness to one another, especially during these challenging times.

Through the power of technology, collaboration can be achieved whilst adhering to the Government's social distancing regulations with the use of the internet, video calls and smartphones. Any schools with students aged 15+ should contact ACM to register their interest in taking part in future “Tuning In” projects. ACM and Surrey Youth Focus hope that through this project, they can continue to bring people together to talk about mental health via the medium of music.

In the students words “it’s ok to not be ok” and “there are people there who can help you”.

To register your schools interest in the Tuning In Project or to access links to further support, please visit: www.acm.ac.uk/tuning-in

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For more information please contact Lizzie Cooley PR and Content Executive, ACM on lcooley@acm.ac.uk

About Woolmer Hill School
Woolmer Hill School is a successful member of the Weydon Multi Academy Trust.  Oversubscribed and growing, this aspirational community-centred school lives by its motto: “Proud to Belong…Proud to Achieve” and is immensely thrilled by the participation, excellent teamwork and enthusiasm of its students in this project.  As a school we prioritise the growth and health of students in all aspects of their life, and particularly in respect to supporting student wellbeing through multiple external and internal partnerships.

About ACM
ACM is a leading creative industries education provider. Having trained musicians, producers, songwriters and entrepreneurs for careers in the creative industries for over 20 years, with state-of-the-art facilities, world-class faculty and extensive industry connections, ACM offers creative industry programmes that develop students to their maximum potential and instantly immerses them in the creative industries. Visit www.acm.ac.uk

About Surrey Youth Focus
Established over 30 years ago, Surrey Youth Focus is a local collaboration charity, working with youth charities and statutory organisations across Surrey to significantly improve the lives of young people. www.surreyyouthfocus.org.uk

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