ACM, Surrey Arts and Catch 22 partner for World Mental Health Day 10th October

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is proud to partner with Surrey Arts and Catch 22 to help challenge the stigma of mental health with an exciting songwriting project.

Almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression1 but too many people are made to feel isolated and ashamed as a result, because of the negative attitudes and stigma that still surround mental ill health2

To help challenge the stigma and improve mental wellbeing, an exciting song writing project for young people aged 14-19 is being run in collaboration with Surrey Arts, Catch 22 and the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.  Over the course of four days young people will get the opportunity to share their experiences of mental health, making new friends along the way. They will learn song writing and production skills to help shape these experiences into songs which will then be performed to an invited audience. This will be followed by a Q&A session, thereby helping to increase awareness about mental health and challenge stigma.

Maya Twardzicki Project Manager from Surrey Arts says….  “Music is a powerful way to connect with our mood and emotions and song writing can provide a method of self-expression that can help with recovery. This exciting project contains many of the ingredients shown to both improve mental wellbeing (learning new skills, connecting with others, taking notice and giving), and to reduce stigma (by bringing together young people with experience of mental health problems and those without).  So we are looking forward to this creative collaboration”

Lee Fellows, Head of Student Services at ACM, said: “As a leading provider of contemporary music education, we recognise how important it is to invest in the mental wellbeing of our students. We provide counselling and wellbeing services to support them in their studies, so we are therefore incredibly proud to support this project.”

For young people aged 14-19 interested in taking part, we ask them to contact , For more information and interviews, contact: Lizzie Cooley - Academy of Contemporary Music PR & Content Executive: or Dan Brown – Surrey Arts Business Development Officer


1 ONS (2016) Selected Children’s Well-being Measures by Country: 3 CentreForum (2016) Commission on Child   

2 National Time to Change Campaign



Dates: Mon 23 Oct - Thursday 26 Oct 11am-4pm, Performance: Thursday 26th 6-7.30pm Venue: The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford Rodboro Buildings, Bridge Street, Guildford GU1 4SB

Summary of the project and expected outcomes

During the programme young people with 'lived experience' of mental health problems will work alongside young people without an identified mental health need. Through 4 collaborative song-writing day sessions, the young people will have opportunities explore shared issues and to discuss what mental health means to them in a social setting. The aim is that this process will share knowledge and awareness around the subject between participants and start to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. The showcase performance on Thur. 26th Oct evening, will provide a fantastic opportunity for the young people to share the anti-stigma theme through their songs with a wider audience on/around World Mental Health Day and for all to participate in a Q&A.  In the project, Participants will fulfil most of the behaviours in the evidence based Wheel of Wellbeing – proven to improve mental wellbeing: keep learning, connect, give, take notice

Registration Form