In Tune with Global Youth Mental Health
The mental well-being of youth is critical at a personal, familial, and societal level. The rise of mental illness, addictions, and suicide in youth, especially among those living in low- and middle-income countries, is of significant concern. Our global health team at the University of Toronto and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has focused on providing mental health and positive development curriculums for transitional youth in collaboration with international and local partners. While the benefits of these programs are well demonstrated, youth feedback suggests that other novel approaches may enhance program value and uptake. Music is known to benefit overall health, promote socialization, and divert youth from risky behaviours. In partnership with the CAMH Foundation, we propose to create partnerships with community musicians to enable the integration of music into existing mental health education programs for disadvantaged youth in Canada, Central America, and Asia. We anticipate that the integration of music will help create a platform for self-expression and bonding that encourages learning and dialogue regarding mental health and addictions, and that promotes well-being.