Tackling mental health stigma through the power of music

12 May 2022

Combining her passion for music and mental health, UQ alumnus, singer-songwriter and psychologist, Aislinn Sharp is looking to roll out a music and mental health awareness concert nationwide.

Aislinn Sharp wearing 'R U OK?' yellow tshirt in front of Brisbane skyline
Aislinn Sharp, Master of Organisational Psychology alumnus

The “R U OK?” Ambassador wants to help normalise and encourage more people to have conversations that can change a life.

Like the first “Live Aid” benefit concert achieved back in the 1980s supporting famine relief in Ethiopia, and the “Fire Fight Australia” concert in early 2020 fundraising for bushfire relief, Ms Sharp would like to use her music as a powerful vehicle to raise awareness and create positive social change.

In April, Ms Sharp performed her first music and mental health awareness concert at the Redland Performing Arts Centre (RPAC).

Between songs Ms Sharp was interviewed by Sandie B from Bay FM Radio, and chatted on stage about some of the deeper stories and meaning behind her songs.

“The audience had the unique opportunity to join the conversation and ask questions about my music and mental health work,” Ms Sharp said.

“My mission is to receive funding to further develop and tour this show to other parts of Australia, especially rural and remote communities where less live performing arts and support services are available.”

Gaining funding will ensure Ms Sharp can continue to help normalise having “R U OK?” conversations about mental health across Australia to encourage help-seeking behaviours and protect more people against suicide.

Ms Sharp, was excited to become involved and to discover the entrepreneurship opportunities for UQ alumni and completed the six-week introductory Ventures Curiosity program this semester.

Getting to pitch her idea in the final week was the highlight for Ms Sharp.

“It gave me a goal and a deadline to prepare and deliver my pitch to a real audience, and an opportunity to receive valuable feedback and support from professional judges on how to further develop my project in the future.”

Ms Sharp highly recommends applying and getting involved in the Ventures Curiosity program. She imparted some advice for any UQ students or alumni considering taking part in the Semester 2 program.

“Developing a startup idea can stretch you and take you out of your comfort zone, and that’s okay. So be brave, show up, and participate to get the most from this exciting program!”

“Don’t be afraid to share your idea, to pitch it to others and receive feedback, because Curiosity is a safe place to fail, and a very supportive learning environment.”

Interested in learning more or getting involved with the project, connect with Ms Sharp over on LinkedIn.

Ventures Curiosity Semester 1 Winners:

  • Best Pitch Delivery 
    Mahlet Seneshaw (online)
    Park It – Parking made easier, simpler and more eco-friendly

    Aislinn Sharp (online)
    A nationwide mental health awareness concert

    Paul Clarke & Sam Pickering (in-person)
    Kidlinks – The future of online elementary education

  • Best Pitch Idea
    Aryan Rustagi  (online)
    Verichain – A Point of Sale (POS) System which makes Non-Fungible Token (NFT) simpler, cheaper and secure

Rosalie Petersen (in-person)
Med Strait –  Making medicine understandable

  • Most Creative Idea
    Sharifah Naajihah Syed Mahmood & Derric Lim (online)
    HalalSource – A one-stop app to find a variety of halal food in Greater Brisbane

Jing Yang  (in-person)
Nutring –  a system that involves a smart blood implant and an app.