First Nations mental health is in the spotlight in the music industry, with industry charity Support Act launching a series of online First Nations mental health talks.

Support Act has been running its On My Mind monthly mental health talks since July last year, but the upcoming talks are the first time they have been specifically targeted at First Nations members of the music industry.

Set for July 23, Yarning Strong is the first event in the series and features Mutti Mutti man Uncle Kutcha Edwards and 2020 triple j artist of the year, Minjungbal Cudgenburra rapper JK-47.

The event is the brainchild of Support Act’s Community Engagement and Social Worker, proud Walpiri, Jawoyn and Gurrindji woman Cerisa Grant.

“We’re thrilled to be able to put on a brand new On My Mind series that allows the voices of First Nations people in music to express, support and heal together,” Grant said.

“It’s a big step forward in addressing issues in our community and ensuring First Nations people in the music industry feel safe to come forward, have a yarn and ask for help if needed.”

The event will touch on issues that affect the mental health of First Nations people, including intergenerational trauma and colonisation as well as racism and tokenism within the industry.

Grant said she felt it was important to have diverse voices at the event.

“I am so excited to have such significant people who have such great influence within the music industry. I really tried to get a diverse panel; an Elder and a young person within the music industry and have those two perspectives on the panel.”

Blues artist Uncle Kutcha Edwards has been an artist and activist since 1991 and has toured his five albums around Australia and the world.

His experiences have given him a wealth of knowledge about mental health to share, Grant said.

“He’s also part of the Stolen Generation, which has a huge impact around mental health,” she said.

“To hear his story and insights and how he overcame that is going to be very impactful for First Nations people.”

Yarning Strong is the brainchild of social worker Cerisa Grant. Photo supplied.

Grant will host the event on the night and said she is excited to share the stage with Uncle Kutcha and JK-47. She said JK-47 uses his music to communicate important messages.

“He’s quite amazing and he’s got some really powerful messages within his songs,” Grant said.

“He’s got a lot to share in terms of our healing and our growth, and less power and pride.”

Grant is excited to spread awareness about First Nations mental health, and said it’s about helping Indigenous people to grow in the industry.

“It’s huge passion of mine and to be able to express it through this avenue I’m very excited about it and I’m very encouraged,” she said.

“I hope I do impact a lot of people and help them to feel comfortable within the industry, to be able to make the full transition into the music industry.

“The ultimate goal is that they feel safe, they feel comfortable, and that they have a culturally safe space to be able to grow and elevate within music.”

By Sarah Smit