Tuesday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The theme for the day is “Mental health is a universal human right”. The Kymi Sinfonietta, the joint orchestra of the cities of Kotka and Kouvola, is actively involved in the mental health theme through live music and music videos. The orchestra is this year participating in World Mental Health Day together with Samu Haber, the well-known musician, singer and song-writer. He is also in the project on behalf of charity, and there are several other partners, too.
The orchestra and Haber are joining forces in a fantastic music video bursting with young creative musical force and energy and presenting one of Haber’s own productions, Sä (You, originally recorded for Capitol Finland in 2022) made with Joonas Angeria and Jussi Tiainen. The idea behind this moving video is that every youngster has the right to feel loved and accepted. Good mental health is a state of wellbeing in which the individual is able to recognise their abilities and meet life’s challenges.
The message of the Sä video is touchingly reinforced by some 50 youngsters. Joining with Haber and an ensemble from the Kymi Sinfonietta are the combined choir of the Kotka schools and rhythm and musical-theatre students at the Kotka Region Music Institute. The main video-production partners are Universal Music Finland / Nordic Music Partners, MIELI Mental Health Finland, MIELI Mental Health Kotka, the Kotka Region Music Institute and the Kotka City Theatre. The video version of the piece has been arranged by Kymi Sinfonietta oboist Dimas Ruiz Santos and Viljami Mehto, and the choir has been coached by the orchestra’s double-bass player Johannes Raikas with Riikka Pelo, Assistant Principal of the Kotka Region Music Institute.
Says Samu Haber of the collaboration and the message of World Mental Health Day: “I can’t imagine a project more important than this. I’ve often been in a fix with my own mental health and luckily I’ve always received help. I wish as many others as possible could, too. The project was absolutely wonderful and I was filled with gratitude every step of the way.”
In its participative education the Kymi Sinfonietta believes that the foundations for wellbeing in later life are laid in childhood and youth. These consist of dependable human relations and a safe growth environment: caring parents, being heard, experiences of success and the fulfilment of emotional needs. Participative education is a means of strengthening not only the young person’s experience of success and inclusion but also the skills they will need in the future, such as social and emotional skills and the ability to empathise.
The theme of World Mental Health Day will also be taken up by cultural institutions in other ways this autumn. The Kotka City Theatre is holding a workshop in articulacy for pupils in the senior high school at which the participants will be encouraged to engage in open and positive interaction. The workshop will offer a diverse opportunity to express feelings and things that bring joy and a sense of wellbeing with the help of music, singing, improvisation and dance. The leader will be Mikkomarkus Ahtiainen, an actor at the Kotka City Theatre, together with other theatre professionals. During the course, the participants will also have a chance to go backstage and to watch the play Risteys (Middle) starring Ahtiainen and Ella Mustajärvi.
This autumn, the Kotka Region Music Institute launched an emotional-skills music school for children aged 4–8. The pupils in this practise identifying and naming emotions and are introduced to emotional skills and practical ways of controlling their feelings. Learning emotional skills reinforces the child’s self-esteem and physical and mental health and helps them to manage their friendships and cope at the day nursery and in school.
The Kymi Sinfonietta is holding friendship workshops for pupils in grade 5 (11–12 years) in Kotka schools in which emotional and friendship skills are approached via music and drama. The leaders are Suvi Granberg, violinist in the Kymi Sinfonietta and youth emotional skills leader, and Thomas Pryke, actor and theatre director.