Music therapy aiding mental health wins place in awards

TWO mental health patients in Woking have written a song and starred in their own music video as part of a music therapy programme.

David and Levi, who had both previously studied music technology and production at university, recorded the video of their rap song Dreaming as part of Cygnet Hospital’s Music 2 Empower scheme.

Levi, left, and David

Their project has seen the music initiative announced as a finalist in the National Service User Awards for its work in using music as a tool for recovery.

David, who has been making music since he was 15, said: “Music can make you happy and it can make you sad. It can make you joyful and it can make you want to burst into tears. Music is something that connects us all into one.”

He and Levi spoke to an occupational therapist and said that they wanted to do a collaborative project. Levi said: “Our relationship has blossomed because we have got to learn more about each other through music.”

The hospital has a music studio at its Knaphill site in Redding Way which, Levi said, “brings us together and makes it feel like a more natural experience here, while allowing me to express what’s on my mind and let off steam”.

Cygnet Health Care launched Music 2 Empower on World Mental Health Day in 2019 and has since rolled out the programme across its hospitals.

Dr Richard Church, a consultant forensic psychiatrist and Medical Director at Cygnet Hospital Woking said: “What was clear from the beginning was that patients were interested in expressing themselves through music.

“What I have observed develop is a type of collaboration that you might not otherwise see. They are working together with a shared goal and creating something new. Music can help promote improvements in people’s social relations and connectedness, as well as building confidence and self-esteem.

“All of us at Cygnet Health Care congratulate David and Levi on what they have achieved and wish them the best of luck at the awards. This recognition is thoroughly deserved.”

Cygnet Health Care’s Raf Hamaizia said: “David sparked a flame within us as an organisation to want to replicate the empowerment and recovery-oriented support he received during his successful request in wanting to do a music video whilst being in services.

“This has since turned into a national initiative we are proud of and has even led to the development of a number of recording studios and music rooms within our services as well as other professional music videos.

“Our message is that just because people are being supported in our services it does not mean they cannot chase their dreams and we will try our best in to support people in doing so.”

David and Levi join four other nominees from Cygnet Health Care services at the National Service User Awards, which are designed to celebrate patient-led initiatives in mental health, learning disability and autism services across the country.

Those involved in the shortlisted projects are invited to a black tie gala awards ceremony in Nottingham in September, where the winners will be announced.

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