Youth Action NI explore mental health issues with CC&G kids

Pictured are  performers Anna Midgley, Ciaran McKeown, Daryl Blair, and Zoe Barr from Rainbow Factory School of Performing Arts and Youth Action NI, who tackle the issue of cyber bullying in their play. Picture by Brian Morrison
Pictured are performers Anna Midgley, Ciaran McKeown, Daryl Blair, and Zoe Barr from Rainbow Factory School of Performing Arts and Youth Action NI, who tackle the issue of cyber bullying in their play. Picture by Brian Morrison

A new £600,000 funding programme will improve the health and wellbeing of young people by creating custom-made arts projects which will give a voice to them through drama, music, visual arts and literature.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency (PHA) are making the joint investment over the next three years, working with a wide range of providers to promote the emotional health and wellbeing of young people.

‘ARTiculate’, the Arts Council’s Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme, will work in partnership with community organisations to deliver tailored arts projects to groups of young people across Northern Ireland.

The first 15 projects to benefit from the programme were announced at an event at Stormont earlier this week. They include Youth Action Northern Ireland, who will receive £12,653 to engage more than 120 young people living in the Causeway Coast and Glens area in drama based activities to explore mental health issues.

Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill, MLA, endorsed the programme saying: “The arts as a public health resource is beginning to be more widely appreciated, and access to the arts for our young people are now more important than ever. The ARTiculate programme, which supports the Protect Life 2 strategy, will challenge issues such as stigma, prejudice and discrimination associated with mental health and wellbeing, which all too many of our young people face every day.”

The creation of the fund follows on from the recent publication of the Health Survey NI 2015/16, which showed 29% of females and 13% of males aged 16-24 had a possible mental illness.

Youth Action Northern Ireland is a regional youth charity tackling issues most critical to young people.