Aussie parents are urged to consider youth theatre as an after school activity this year, with recent research revealing the positive impact on mental wellbeing.
According to a new report from the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), participation in youth theatre had a positive impact on the wellbeing of 94 per cent of youth involved, helped 71 per cent build resilience to cope with challenges and resulted in 52 per cent reducing their anxiety levels.
“The mental health and wellbeing of Australian youth is a critical issue for our society, with Mission Australia estimating one in four, or 750,000 Australian youth, currently experiencing mental ill-health,” says ATYP General Manager, Amy Maiden.
“This research from ATYP provides insight into the role the arts can play in building crucial skills to develop mental fitness, manage mental wellbeing and build self-confidence in young people. Just like physical fitness, mental fitness can be improved to help manage stress and overall wellbeing.”
Most participants (89 per cent) reported improved self-confidence, team work (88 per cent) and interpersonal skills (84 per cent) as a result of their involvement in youth theatre.
“Youth theatre not only supports the health and wellness of young people, it also develops skills that prepare them for the future. Having confidence and the ability to work in a team puts young people ahead of the curve for endeavours later in life,” says Ms Maiden.
The research also explored how participation in youth theatre can develop technical skills which benefit young people in the classroom, in tertiary education, and have the potential to improve employability when they are ready to join the workforce.
The ATYP report identified immediate outcomes of youth theatre which benefit young people in all aspects of their life including storytelling skills (80 per cent), improvising (78 per cent), technical skills (71 per cent) and writing skills (54 per cent).
“Whether young people go on to work in a STEM role, pursue a career in the arts or in professional services, the storytelling, writing and improvising skills they develop at ATYP will benefit them for years to come,” says Ms Maiden.
According to the Black Dog Institute, three quarters of adult psychological problems start under the age of 251, so early recognition, intervention and management is critical.
The ATYP special report: Building mental wellness and agility through youth theatre surveyed more than 1,200 people on the impact youth theatre can have on wellbeing and critical life skills.
ATYP is Australia’s national youth theatre and has been empowering young Australians to unleash their creative potential for over 50 years.