Powerful new Yarn Safe video launches

To encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to talk about mental health and wellbeing, communities in the Northern Territory have worked with headspace and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) to create the 'Got a lot going on' music video.

The hip hop video, written and performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, captures the broad range of issues they are facing, including racism, stress, drugs and isolation, but stresses there is 'no shame in talking it'.

The video was created over nine days in late 2014, with music and dance workshops held with young people in Rockhole, Katherine, Beswick and Belyuen.

Starting with just a beat, young people worked with IHHP and headspace to write song lyrics, learn hip hop dance moves and film the unique music video.

Dion Brownfield, Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, said nothing is more powerful than a resource made for young people, by young people.

"It's in their language, it's talking firsthand about their experience and it's about them expressing themselves. The sense of connection to the final product is so strong."

"Communities will be able to relate and connect to the powerful messages in the lyrics. Indigenous young people do have many challenges living in community and they do have a lot going on, this music video is a testament to the power of culture, music and dance for change," Mr Brownfield said.

The most recent statistics released in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report (3/12/14) show suicide rates are almost twice as high among people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females aged 15-24 years are 5.2 times more likely to die due to intentional self-harm than other children and young people in the same age range.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said the video has helped to bring the messages of the Yarn Safe campaign to life.

"As well as creating something that reach young people across the country, this has been an opportunity for headspace to learn more about the issues facing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait, particularly in these communities."

"The young people loved the process of using song and dance to express feelings and emotions. They weren't afraid to talk about what's going on for them even though they were touching on some really sensitive issues," Mr Tanti said.

The project is part of the ' Yarn Safe campaign', which aims to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people about mental health and encourage them to get help at headspace centres located around the country, eheadspace online and telephone counselling service or other appropriate mental health services.

'Yarn Safe' is the first youth-led national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth mental health campaign of its kind. The campaign was developed with a group of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia, including Elcho Island, Brisbane, Darwin, Broome, Melbourne and Perth.