Pictured: YMCA Bass Coast Youth Programs Coordinator, Paul Milkins (centre), with the stars of the Sing it Out production.
Now more than ever, young people are at risk of developing mental health issues – and this is more prominent in rural communities.
Meaningful opportunities for connection can be few and far between, but through the YMCA Bass Coast there was a unique opportunity to change this.
Paul Milkins, YMCA Bass Coast Youth Programs Coordinator, had heard of the “Sing it Out” program – a joint production Coach Music Academy and beyondblue that promotes better mental health in young people through music, and features performers from Channel 9’s The Voice.
“I knew it was something our local high schools would really benefit from the moment I read about it, both Jim Lees of Wonthaggi Secondary College and Jason Scott from Newhaven College were very supportive in organising this event.” explains Paul.
“Due to the popularity of the performers, “Sing it Out” was a really good way of reaching the young people with an important message. Reinforcing this was having the opportunity to deliver this during Mental Health Week”
After reaching out to the schools, Paul booked the performances for Wonthaggi Secondary College and Newhaven College Senior campuses. The costs to bring the “Sing it Out” program to the area were covered through a partnership between YMCA Bass Coast FReeZA and Bass Coast Shire Council.
The stars included contestants from the last three seasons of The Voice, including Jax Thomas and Jesse Hemma. After their group performances, students had the opportunity to engage and ask open questions about their experiences with mental health.
Inviting the entire senior campuses of Wonthaggi Secondary College and Newhaven College, Paul and his team managed to reach out to nearly 700 students on the day.
“Mental health is an important issue in our community, and we’re always looking for ways that we can better inform young people. Collaborating with the schools and council to deliver these events was a fantastic way of engaging so many young people in a short amount of time, I’m very proud we were able to bring this production to the Bass Coast community.”
“On the day the performances from the artists were nothing short of amazing and looking around the room the impact of their messages captivated both students and teachers alike,” said Paul.
“Sing it Out was a great opportunity to show the local school communities that YMCA is much more that a gym and a pool.”