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Music 2 Empower – The Power of Music in Mental Health Recovery

music 2 empower

We’re pleased to share two new films showcasing our Music 2 Empower initiative and the powerful impact it has had on service users at Cygnet Hospital Blackheath, Cygnet Aspen Clinic and Cygnet Aspen House.

Music plays a fundamental part of most people’s lives as it can shape our identity, culture, heritage and spiritual beliefs. Many of us listen to music for relaxation and leisure and it can affect people deeply.

Harnessing the power of music through therapy can also help people across mental health care settings, where it is used to promote improvements in people’s social relations and connectedness, as well as building confidence and self-esteem.

Music 2 Empower is an initiative by Cygnet Health Care to bring the positive effects of music therapy across our services.

Cygnet’s Expert By Experience lead, Raf Hamaizia said: “With an established and growing body of evidence demonstrating its importance for people experiencing mental ill health, music therapy offers a major opportunity for individuals to put themselves at the heart of their recovery.

“I’ve seen first-hand how music can help achieve this, empowering people to address problems rooted in their past, opening up channels of communication and helping people to share their story and talk about their feelings and experiences.”

Through our recovery colleges and therapeutic services, individuals are encouraged to play, write, perform and share music. We are also enabling people to record their music professionally in recording studios and have made short films to showcase the diversity of music and talent we have across Cygnet.

Raf continued: “In individual and group settings, we have found that music therapy can cultivate a sense of hope and support that reduces isolation, promotes greater understanding and allows people to express themselves creatively. Crucially, music helps to build a sense of connectivity to yourself and your community – something that is vital for individuals in mental health care settings.”

Each month we will be releasing a new video which will showcase the work done at different services through Music 2 Empower. The first two are available to listen and watch here.

DuVonne’s story – speaking your truth

DuVonne describes his life as ‘a long history and love affair with music’. He began by playing keyboards in church and started to write his own music at the age of 14. A former service user at Cygnet Hospital Blackheath, music has had an important role in his recovery journey and he recalls feeling ‘dazzled’ by the opportunity offered by Cygnet to record his own song in a studio in 2017.

For DuVonne, music therapy, and the opportunity to record these songs in the studio was a huge source of enjoyment and empowerment, crediting the project with allowing people to find their voice and ‘speak their truth’. He recalls that music sessions enable you to ‘put things into perspective’; ‘to understand what you don’t necessarily understand about your own life and circumstances’ and to ‘see things are right there in front of you’ by ‘hearing them back’ in your music.

Since his discharge, DuVonne has gone on to help facilitate music sessions for others, working with one person to provide the chorus for an original rap, which they recorded together. DuVonne knows how hard it can be at times when receiving care away from home, but believes music can bring greater enrichment and enjoyment to people, individually and in groups, and aid people in connecting with themselves, others and their own experiences.

Cygnet Aspen House and Aspen Clinic – building community through music therapy

As part of the Music 2 Empower programme, women from two Cygnet services, Aspen House and Aspen Clinic, recently teamed up to rehearse and record a song, meeting every week for teas, coffees and to sing together. The Therapy Co-ordinators from both services noticed that the women’s confidence was increasing significantly as the project went on, as they found ways to express their feelings through music in an environment that felt safe and secure.

For these women, the social element of the project was integral to growing their self-esteem. Working and singing together cultivated social skills and greater self-confidence, as well as empowering people to create positive change, with one individual remarking how much music can help people.

Since their recording session, the women have established a permanent choir and are now looking to share their project with others by singing on other wards at their service.

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