Kate Miller-Heidke
Kate Miller-Heidke

Singer hits the right note with troubled teens

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 in conjunction with 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.

The project 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.

"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.

While the program will again be offered across central and west Queensland in 2016, Prof McAllister said she hoped to extend it nationwide in the coming years.

"If we could train the 3000 mental health nurses across Australia in this program they could basically reach into every high school into Australia," she said.



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