In 2016, The University of Melbourne partnered with The Australian Music Association (AMA) with the support of the NAMM Foundation to pilot a new model of the AMA’s existing Young Warriors Program. This model aimed to specifically target the needs of young people accessing headspace youth mental health services, in order to build musical and social capacities for mental health recovery and sustained community engagement.
A recent study by Hense (2015) identified a lack of community-based music opportunities for young people after periods of music therapy in mental health services. Young people in this study described wanting to use music to connect with their local community but lacked the social and musical capacities, as well as opportunities to do so. Thus, the study highlighted the need to establish new music-based opportunities that support young people to build social and musical capacities for sustained music engagement in the community.
The pilot involved a careful collaboration between the three organisations to infuse some of the critical music therapy and mental health emphasis into the existing Young Warriors model.