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Arts and Young People
An Australian Bureau of Statistics report conducted in 2000 noted that arts and cultural activities are disproportionately more significant to the quality of life of Australians in the 14 to 24-year-old range. The report documents participation rates of around 68 per cent for this age group, higher than any other group. For young people attempting to resolve complex social problems, artistic participation and expression can provide a valuable mechanism for bringing about positive outcomes in health and wellbeing.
A number of programs throughout the country have successfully engaged young people, particularly with regard to mental health, at the community level. Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA) is the national peak body for organisations and practitioners engaging young people in the arts. The Artful Dodgers Studios and Slippry Sirkus have both had significant impact on health outcomes. The Young People Prevention and Early Intervention (YPPI) project has successfully used flexible creative arts, rather than arts therapy, in the process of recovery for young people with first-episode psychosis. Both Tutti Ensemble and Restless Dance Theatre work with disabled and non-disabled young people in theatre, music and dance performance.
The Department for Culture and the Arts promotes support for programs engaging young people in the arts, and the Foundation for Young Australians does work in evaluating the effectiveness of youth programs.
Hear young musicians talking about the impact of music on mental health on this site.