A Pakenham teenager is using music as a vehicle to promote positive messages about mental health.
Mikayla Wade, a 15-year-old student at Kooweerup Secondary College, has always been a talented musician; she can play the saxophone, piano and guitar.
But during last year’s lockdown she began turning her hand to songwriting too after her own mental health challenges.
Mikayla said while lockdown was “pretty difficult”, she was able to get through by focusing on the good.
Lockdown gave Mikayla the time to figure out what she really wanted to do, and she has since penned a full album’s worth of material.
Some of the songs are based on her own personal experiences while others draw from the perspective of loved ones or people in the community.
“I feel like songwriting really helps me to just be who I want to be,” she explained.
Friends and teachers have told her that her music sends a positive message around staying strong and triumphing over challenges.
“I’ve had a few issues in the past and conquered them,” Mikayla said.
“With lockdown different [issues] have come back but I’ve always gotten over them so I’m trying to write about that.”
It’s not the first time Mikayla has volunteered her skills to assist with good mental health.
In grade six, she volunteered to sew teddy bears for underprivileged kids.
It’s clearly a cause that’s close to her heart.
She’s now concentrating on putting together her first album of original pieces, recorded in her home studio, and gearing up for a public gig.
The teenager will be performing as part of Winter Originals at Bunjil Place on Friday 16 July – her first major performance of original songs.
She said she’s looking forward to revealing the tunes to her audience.
“I feel like the message that my songs give out is, no matter how hard the time is, you can always be happy and overcome that.”
Mikayla has also partnered with ‘Australia’s Hottest Teacher’ Dylan Harris, who runs a TikTok account dedicated to promoting good mental health. Her songs will now be featured in his online videos.
“This is what makes me feel happy,” Mikayla said of her songwriting.
“I’m proud of myself for overcoming things and I’m proud of everyone else who has helped along the way.”
Mikayla Wade will perform at Bunjil Place on Friday 16 July at 6.30pm. For more information, contact Bunjil Place.