Mental Health Awareness Week – Key4Life: Kate La Tour, Communications & Development Manager

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 14-20th May, we are running a series of blogs focusing on the role of music in mental health from some of the initiatives we work closely with including the BRIT School, Nordoff Robbins, Music Support, Key4Life, Help Musicians & more.


Today we are featuring a blog from Key4Life’s Communications and Development Manager, Kate La Tour.


The amazing benefits of music is demonstrated through the rehabilitation work of Key4Life in helping to reform young offenders and to break the cycle of crime.


Key4Life – supported by the music industry and The BRIT Trust – helps to tackle the intractable social problem of young adult male re-offending through an innovative model with a key focus on music. The charity supports young men added 18 to 25 years old who are in or at risk of going to prison. Their participants have multiple issues, with over a third with mental health issues (compared to 16% nationally), two thirds with an absent father when growing up and an average of over three previous offences.


Music therapy is crucial part of Key4Life’s effective work to build emotional resilience, unlock young men’s creative potential and change negative behaviours. The participants are able to channel their passion and energies in a more positive way, to express themselves as well as learn to work collaboratively with others.


Key4Life brings in grime and other artists inside the prison for their music workshops that form part of the charity’s effective seven-step programme. The charity’s latest prison programme at HMP Brixton saw, Young Spray, Sneakbo, Al, the Native (formerly Jordan from Rizzle Kicks), Walter Ego help run a music workshop as part of the initial “Unlock stages” of the charity’s programme pre- and post-release. Through the gates, Key4Life continues the work with music with regular workshop sessions with some of the young men forming part of the Key4Life band that has produced a number of tracks including “I and I” produced by Naughty Boy and is working on a forthcoming EP to be launched in Autumn, in association with Island Records.


Key4Life’s music programme is headed up by Anthon (age 23), a former offender and now Caseworker for Key4Life writes and performs his own music.


“Music helps me personally by giving me the means to express my life experiences to create a better idea of who I am as a person. Music is something that everyone can relate to, whether that’s through writing, listening or performing, I use music to relate and engage other people to come together and share their experiences.”


The young’s men ability to deal with emotions and their positive attitudes to work both double during the course of the programme and the “Value of Music” is aptly summed up in the young men’s words:


“Being locked up, feeling institutionalised with no way out can result to mental problems, but music allows me to escape and frees my mind”. 


“I never understood how easily I could adapt to new things and be as creative as I am until I became aware of the emotional resilience I gain through music.” 


“Music is my passion, I feel it in my veins”.


“Music is a feeling and I say how I feel”.   


Take a look at our film showcasing how The BRIT Trust and Key4Life have successfully collaborated and the “Value of Music”.