Singer Kate Miller-Heidke.
Singer Kate Miller-Heidke. Jo Duck

Singer teaches kids it’s cool to speak about mental health

AWARD-winning Aussie musician Kate Miller-Heidke is improving the lives of teenagers struggling with mental health problems.

Miller-Heidke's music is being used alongside popular movies and literature in CQUniversity's iCARE-R project.

The innovative mental health concept was delivered to 400 Year 8 students from 15 schools in Longreach, Blackall, Emerald, Dysart, Moranbah, Eidsvold, Mundubbera and Gayndah this year.

It is hoped the project will be delivered nationwide.

iCARE-R uses scenes from Muriel's Wedding and School of Rock, Miller-Heidke's song about bullies - Caught in the Crowd - and poetry and short stories to get adolescents talking about self-harm and other mental health issues in a "cool" way.

"For kids it's not cool to talk about their own problems in a group," CQUni professor Margaret McAllister said.

"Young people like to talk to each other but they don't like outside experts coming in and telling them what to do.

"We devised the program so it would be very much about trigger activities from films or songs or poetry that stimulated the group to get them engaged and talk about the issues."

Mental health nurses and school guidance counsellors deliver iCARE-R as an extra-curricular activity for one hour a week over six weeks.



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