Music

Proof music IS good for the soul as sessions help mental health recovery

Key Changes are proving where words fail, music speaks

While there is a lot of focus on the mental health of those at risk of burnout due to corporate jobs, less is known about those in alternative industries.

In particular, the music industry is a tough old business that is often overlooked and even lacks empathy as it is perceived to be a glamorous machine that churns out stars.

Yet life on the road, being surrounded by drink and drugs, living a nocturnal existence, not to mention the uncertainty of how a record will be received and all the cancelled shows during Covid, does not come without its problems and many musicians struggle with their minds.  

This is why Key Changes are the Fairy Godmothers for musicians.

[Credit: Key Changes]

They offer creative and innovative sessions for musicians experiencing mental health issues to help them improve their wellbeing by tapping into what they know and love – music.

Our stars of tomorrow are gifted a host of activities, from studio sessions to live performance, all supported by industry mentors to help them develop their skills in tandem with their life struggles.

You might still wonder why a musician could grapple with life when they have a creative outlet, yet a recent report stated that 73% of independent music-makers suffer from signs of mental illness.

The study, released pre-Covid in 2019 and could therefore see an even bigger rise in those struggling today given how lockdown affected the industry, reported that anxiety and depression are the most commonly experienced negative emotions in relation to music creation.

[Credit: Key Changes]

Key Changes kickstarted back in 1997, when a group of patients at Highgate Mental Health Centre in London began to provide music activities on the wards.

Their passion and hardwork has since boomed, with the initiative now working across the UK in partnership with the NHS and authorities to give local musicians a voice.

Their goal is to rewrite the narrative that recovery is solely about taking medication or talking therapy, with their belief that music can play a valuable role in helping mental illness too.

Speaking in their mission statement, Key Changes state: “Music can stimulate emotional and aesthetic responses, develop creative, technical, social and vocational skills.

“It can improve expression, communication, confidence and self-esteem.”

They also report that music can facilitate positive changes in behaviour and wellbeing.

[Credit: Key Changes]

As well as working in the local community, the team deliver sessions in hospitals, providing services for musicians receiving treatment on wards or rehabilitation in psychiatric settings.

Patients are encouraged to experiment with a variety of activities, from singing to songwriting, across a host of genres; including hip-hop, soul, reggae, rock, funk, and anything in-between.

While the music really does do the talking, perhaps one of their participants said it best when they revealed: “I’d given up on my dreams, coming here has helped me get back to my old self.”

For more info, click here: Key Changes.

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