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Dec. 7-8: SRSLY Partners with Chelsea Music Department for Mental Health Awareness at Annual Holiday Concert

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Kate Yocum for the information in this story.)

On Dec. 7 and 8, the Chelsea Music Department and SRSLY Chelsea will come together for mental health awareness at the school district’s annual holiday concert.

This is the first time the two groups will partner on this kind of event.

“Mental health has been an important topic in the community for a number of years now. When we learned about the project, we knew that we wanted to bring it to Chelsea and our students,” said Katy Steklac, Beach Middle School’s band director. “We loved the composer’s effort to make high-level composition accessible to young musicians, and his acknowledgement of how the arts can help students express their experience of mental health.”

The Unbroken Project, a collection of musical pieces by Randall Standridge, reflects his own experiences of anxiety and depression.

The high school wind symphony will perform “(Not) Alone” on Dec. 7 while the 8th grade band will perform “Fragile” the following evening. The goal of this concert series is to de-stigmatize the conversation around mental health, spread awareness, share resources and give the students a way to express themselves and their experiences through the arts.

“We are excited to partner with SRSLY to make our impact even bigger as we bring these performances to life,” said Alison Roberts, Chelsea High School’s music director.

The high school wind symphony designed custom “Happy Initiative” shirts to wear for their performance. The initiative is a mental health apparel campaign by SRSLY designed to create a positive, open conversation around teens’ experiences with mental health, whether it is their own or someone they love’s.

The shirts will read “Progress Not Perfection,” a student-voted phrase that counteracts the anxiety-inducing pressure of perfection in high school. It elevates the idea that each day is a chance to move forward, and that no matter how small, progress is progress.

“We initially brainstormed a set of custom mental health shirts for the students, but it quickly evolved into much more than that,” said Kate Yocum, SRSLY director. “We’ll have a resource table, registration for free mental health trainings, giveaways, and staff ready to answer any questions.”

The middle school band designed a set of custom T-shirts with the message “SRSLY, Mental Health Matters” that is unique to them and their performance goal of spreading awareness.

“Many people struggling with mental health feel as though they are alone in their battle. It is important that everyone knows how important they are and that they are never alone,” said Chelsea High School senior, Makenna Van Assche.

The Chelsea Music Department hopes people will consider a donation to support youth mental health this holiday season.

To learn more about mental health and the work SRSLY is doing, visit srsly.org or find us on Facebook @srslychelsea. To donate, please visit https://giving.stjoeshealth.org/srsly or use scan the QR code.

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