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IMPACT Group Breaking the Silence on Mental Health

9th October 2020

IMPACT CAMHS break the silence

Young people involved with Belfast Trust CAMHS start a band and release an EP to amplify their message this World Mental Health Day.

Art and creativity is one medium that many will identify as being beneficial when it comes to improving mental health. Ahead of this year’s World Mental Health Day, with the IMPACT CAMHS project decided they wanted to use music to spread hope to other young people.

Arts in Health at the Belfast Trust supported the group to help make their dream a reality. In January 2020 the group started working with local musician Cormac Neeson to write their own songs focusing on sharing a positive mental health message. COVID-19 created a barrier for the group not being able to meet in person for a long time, but thanks to technology and a lot of extra commitment from the group, they were able to continue virtually and formed a close bond.

Ash Donnelly said, “At first, I was really hesitant with the group and everyone but as we got talking, we were best friends in no time and I really couldn’t be happier with what we have achieved together”.

The group formed their band ‘Counterpart’ and are releasing an EP of five original songs. They are sharing their song ‘Break the Silence’ as it holds particular importance on World Mental Health Day, encouraging others to break the stigma associated with talking about mental health and wellbeing.

The group is facilitated by social work staff Shauneen O’Connor and Sarah Ombler. Speaking of the young people’s enthusiasm Shauneen O’Connor said,

“The group really inspire us and have encouraged us to think of more creative ways to engage young people. They have left a huge footprint behind with this project which will continue to motivate us as we continue to advocate for young people. We hope that it will have a big impact on others too.”

Young people would have found the process of being able to share their mental health experiences through music has had a positive effect on their self-esteem. Robyn Ellison said,

“This has been a brilliant opportunity for me as I have always been interested in music but was never confident in my ability. This has given me a chance to write songs to express myself and share my experience of mental health with others, which has given me more belief in myself and made me very proud. Through this I hope we can inspire other people to write music to help their mental health”.

Mollie Tolan added,

“I feel very proud of myself for achieving this as my confidence is growing and I am letting other people hear my voice and hope to help someone. I used to be really afraid to let people hear me sing as I had no confidence. The group has given me hope and I want to share the music to give other people hope.”