Arts and Mental Health Child & Family Psychology iTHRIVE news

Love Spreads: Three Minute Heroes comes to Greater Manchester


Three Minutes Heroes is an innovative project which integrates music and mental health in schools. Today we welcome Three Minute Heroes to Greater Manchester!

What is Three Minute Heroes? Why do we need it?

Children and young people in GM tell us that their greatest issue around mental health is stigma. Three Minute Heroes is an inclusive and positive way to give those children and young people a powerful way to communicate their thoughts and to tackle that stigma.

Children and young people are invited to participate in up to six sessions of creative writing, to express what is bothering them and their feelings. The resulting lyrics are given to established and breakthrough artists and bands from the area, and an album with a mental health theme is then professionally produced in the studio.

Young people, the artists, and bands are also invited to make music videos to accompany their song. They are incredibly impressive! Watch the video to accompany Elwhaeko’s ‘masterfully crafted slice of contemporary dark folk’ ‘Overthink’:

Three Minute Heroes in Greater Manchester

Warren Records
Some of the iTHRIVE team discovering the talents over at Warren Records. Left to right: Your blogger and GM iTHRIVE Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme Manager, Kat Taylor; GM iTHRIVE Assistant Psychologists, Ruvimbo Marume and Lucy Galvin.

Last year, the people behind Three Minute Heroes invited us, a group of Manchester-based service providers, to Hull to share just how youth-led, vibrant, and effective creative provision for young people can be.

Who’s Behind Three Minute Heroes?

The model was developed by The Warren Project in Hull, which has offered support services to Hull’s youth for over 30 years. Three Minute Heroes successfully encouraged schools to incorporate the sessions into the school curriculum, and the Greater Manchester (GM) Children and Young People’s Mental Health Board have given their approval for schools to deliver Three Minute Heroes in GM.

Three Minute Heroes: the album

Young people can be hugely creative, disinhibited, fresh – you can hear their dynamism and diversity on the album. To me, this is testament to how much children and young people can convey and share if given the chance. I wonder how much better mental health services would be if (in line with the principles underlying THRIVE) children and young people were given the freedom, responsibility, and choice to shape needs-led and age appropriate intervention options – as they so resolutely are at the Warren.

Watch this telling music video on how some children and young people might choose to address mental health diagnoses: ‘Being Alone’ by Brosnan:


In the words of a head teacher whose school participated in Three Minute Heroes: “Two and a half months on, they’re still talking about it, they’re still saying they’d love to do it again, and they are still sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s had a huge impact and it continues to do so. It was quite a special experience.”

Mark Crofts, Headteacher, said, “Three Minute Heroes is doing the right thing in exactly the right way. We’ve seen massive changes in our young people who took part. They’ve come such a long way in terms of building their confidence. I can’t think of a quicker way than Three Minute Heroes for getting the support that is needed, in a manner which is exciting and engaging to so many students in such a short period of time. What really struck me was the number of students who came to me and asked if we could do it again.”

Former Project Lead (and lead singer of Hull Band LiFE) Mez Green said: “The words created by the young people of Withernsea High are raw, honest and breathtaking and the new album is a body of work that is fresh, energetic and exciting.”

The Warren Project

In part funded by the Joe Strummer Foundation, the independent charity operates from an old fire station and features a record label and shop next door, Warren Records. The staff team – which includes many young people who have themselves sought support – offers free guidance, training, counselling and music education to people aged 14 – 25.

The Warren’s central philosophy is empowerment. The charity is all about listening to young people who can take responsible decisions in individual and non-stigmatising ways.

What next?

Join the Three Minute Heroes journey in GM! It’s early days having just had the Board approval, follow our progress on Twitter first @3MinuteHeroesGM

Three Minutes Heroes GM: the Launch

On March 4th – 6th, Un-convention in Manchester will host a conference for makers and champions of independent music at Niamos, Hulme. We’ll be there to launch Three Minute Heroes GM along with a Q&A to the industry. Tickets here

Join the GM iTHRIVE Mailing list

Find out more about the progress of the Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme so far here.

I'm a British clinical psychologist with a research background. I manage the Greater Manchester i-THRIVE Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme, part of the national transformation of children's services. I also have an NHS clinical role in Lancaster and Morecambe working with children, young people and families (CAMHS). I began this blog in 2017 to record a WCMT Travelling Fellowship, from a research role at Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University. I began clinical psychology training (DCLinPsy, Lancaster) in 2010, and studied the role of creativity in bipolar disorder, because of the known links, and partly due to my own experiences of creatively managing extremes of mood in adolescence and throughout my 20s. I have worked in several university psychology research departments including Manchester University in suicide prevention, the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University (notable for service user expertise), and on the Dementia & Imagination research programme.

2 comments on “Love Spreads: Three Minute Heroes comes to Greater Manchester

  1. Nice one Kat.



    Liked by 1 person

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