Mini-gig highlights challenges of mental health

Mini-gig highlights challenges of mental health

The songs of emerging muso Deniz Kayis may sound sweet, but they hide an aching sadness that reflects the experience of many of today’s young people who bravely cope with mental health problems.

Ms Kayis, a 19-year-old Kensington student, will share her original music as one of many young performers at the Our Kind of Music gig, at Cathedral Square in the heart of the city on Saturday 12 October.

The free live mini-gig from midday to 3pm marks Mental Health Month NSW, supported by the City of Sydney, and celebrates this year’s theme ‘Kindness: Small Acts, Big Impacts’.

Ms Kayis composed her song Day by Day as a tribute to a close friend, and said it expressed how small acts of kindness can have a big impact on mental wellbeing.

“One of my closest friends died in 2011, when we were in Year 11 at high school, and it was devastating,” Ms Kayis said.

“She had not been diagnosed with a mental illness, and none of her friends knew she was having difficulty – she was always bubbly and cheerful, and we assumed she would become a prefect.

“We all wondered what would have happened if she’d told us how she was feeling and whether we’d have been able to help her.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Mental Health Month NSW was an opportunity to support people suffering with mental illness and to tell young Australians there is a strong support network available.

“Mental illness is a serious issue that is often skirted around, when it shouldn’t be – one in four young Australians are affected by mental health problems,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This gig lets people know there are others who relate to them. Music is powerful – it brings people together, raises awareness and spreads positivity, and that’s why we are proud supporters.”

Ms Kayis has recorded an acoustic version of Day by Day, which muses on what she would say to her friend if she had had the chance.

“Whether by reconnecting yourself with those who love you or by forcing yourself to remember the little things that can make you happy, I believe these small steps are crucial for anyone going through a difficult period in their lives,” Ms Kayis said.

“Recovering or dealing with mental illness is not simple – it can be long and difficult, but breaking it into small bite-sized chunks makes it seem more achievable and more realistic. It’s important to show that recovery isn’t an overnight occurrence, but rather a daily process.”

The event is organised by Sydney Youth Music, and supported by the City of Sydney and Music NSW’s youth arm, Indent.

Our Kind of Music
Saturday 12 October, midday – 3pm.
Cathedral Square, corner of College and William streets, Sydney
Free, no bookings necessary.

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For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matt Levinson on 0427 044 768 or email