Teens head into recording studio for mental health project

Mentors Shannan Barrett, Antrim Grammar School and Hannah Brennan, Sperrins Integrated College are pictured with Aidan , Cailin  with Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader
Mentors Shannan Barrett, Antrim Grammar School and Hannah Brennan, Sperrins Integrated College are pictured with Aidan , Cailin with Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader

A group of young people have been made their recording debut for a unique music project tackling mental health issues.

The project organised by Fresh Minds Education is one of 27 to have received funding as part of ARTiculate, a three-year £600,000 programme funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds and the Public Health Agency (PHA), which uses artists and the arts to give a voice to issues affecting young people.

Una McCAnn, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader, Menal and Eoin who took part in the music project.

Una McCAnn, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader, Menal and Eoin who took part in the music project.

Working with professional artist Una McCann, the group, whose members live around Rathenraw Estate in Antrim, attended a series of workshops to explore emotional health themes through music and song writing. Involving young people from primary and secondary schools, the project was spearheaded by 17 12-18 year olds who worked with the younger children to draw out the emotions which affect them most, including feeling angry, sad, anxious, worried or low. By taking a creative approach, the group was able to explore the feelings and learn the AMBER approach, which is a structure that supports children to develop coping mechanisms in a safe and relaxed environment.

To mark the end of their project, Red Box Media visited the group to record some of the music they have been working on.

Aine Wallace who developed the project on behalf of Fresh Minds Education, said: “These teenagers came with a view to support younger children and have left with a sense of hope and optimism for the future and a sense of belonging in the community where they live.”

Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader, Shannon McGrogg, ( mentor) Starr Hamilton ( mentor), with pupils from Antrim Grammar and St Joseph's Primary School.

Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader, Shannon McGrogg, ( mentor) Starr Hamilton ( mentor), with pupils from Antrim Grammar and St Joseph's Primary School.