When your child can’t find the words, help them find the lyrics. The Sound It Out campaign helps parents and caregivers have meaningful conversations about emotional wellbeing with their middle schoolers. Created by the Ad Council, in partnership with Pivotal Ventures and a coalition of organizations, Sound It Out paired kids and their families with musical artists. From these talks, musicians such as KAMAUU, Tobe Nwigwe, Empress Of, and Lauren Jauregui created an album inspired by emotions felt.
These songs are available across all major streaming platforms and can be heard on SoundItOutTogether.org, which also offers free expert-vetted resources to guide conversations about mental health. The campaign emphasizes reaching parents and caregivers in Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities, which often face the additional trauma of systemic racism and greater challenges in accessing the support they need. All materials, including resources, are available in English and Spanish.
“The most impressionable minds of any group of people are the minds of children. In America, the most systematically attacked and targeted community is the ‘Black’ community,” said KAMAUU, who wrote and recorded a song inspired by his conversation with Howie, a 14-year-old from New York. “I was drawn to participate and be a part of this project in the name of self-preservation. In doing what I can to help the youth and parents (fathers and mothers), I can help create a better community for myself and for my future children.”
A Critical Time
There is currently a mental health crisis among America’s youth. The transitional period of adolescence marks a critical time for parents and caregivers to engage their children in conversations around their emotional wellbeing.
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than half of mental illness begins before age 14
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the suicide rate nearly tripled among young people aged 10-14 between 2007 and 2017
- A CDC analysis shows that the share of emergency room visits for mental health challenges, like panic and anxiety, increased by 31 percent among adolescents aged 12-17 during the pandemic, indicating the negative effects of social isolation and lockdowns
“Conversations with young people about their emotional health and wellbeing can be difficult, but are critically important, especially during a pandemic that has left many feeling isolated and alone,” said Dr. Renee Wittemyer, Director of Program Strategy and Investment for Pivotal Ventures. “The Sound It Out campaign uses the unique power of music to help young people and the adults who care for them find a common language to express these emotions. Innovative efforts like this one are essential to helping more young people get the support they need.”
Sound It Out
Images provided by The Ad Council