Youth Rockin’ The Black Dog registration now open

Brittany Herron -


Registrations are now open for the sixth annual Youth Rockin’ The Black Dog competition, which helps raise awareness of mental health issues for young people in the Hunter, Central Coast and surrounding regions.

The Youth Rockin’ the Black Dog (YRBD) competition is open to those aged between 12 and 25 years. Young bands and solo artists from all genres are eligible to enter this exciting music competition which aims to encourage young people to get thinking and talking about mental health issues with friends, family and networks.

YRBD is managed by Newcastle-based Hunter Institute of Mental Health, in a partnership with headspace Maitland and headspace Newcastle. The event includes three live evening-heats during September, followed by a Grand Final event where six young finalists battle it out in October 2015 (during Mental Health Month).

Acts will be judged by local music representatives and mental health professionals. A range of prizes are also up for grabs in this year’s competition.

Folk-rock songstress and YRBD coordinator Kim McNaughton said the competition uses music to engage young people and to get them thinking about mental health issues.

“As well as providing opportunities for young acts, it lets young people know that it’s ok to talk about these issues, and to seek help early if they need it.

“Music is a great way to connect with others and I am looking forward to this year’s competition and the talent that will come out of it,” said Kim.

Community Development Officer Byron Williams from headspace Newcastle believes that music is an extremely important element of expression for young people – for ALL people!

“You can say things in music that you might struggle to express in a face-to-face conversation. How many songs are there about feeling lonely, break ups, struggling, bullying, missing people … there’s a whole genre called The Blues.

“Music is a great way to start talking about mental health and YRBD is a great example of this,” said Byron.

Headspace Maitland service’s manager Felicity Scott considers the YRBD competition to be a successful and innovative approach to tackling young people’s mental health problems.

“75% of mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. Therefore it is really important to be raising awareness about youth mental health. Music is an awesome medium to start the conversation and promote help seeking behavior,” she said.


Entries for the 2015 YRBD music competition close on Friday 14th August, 5pm. Competition information, entry forms and updates can be found at, or via the YRBD Facebook page at

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