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Musical Instruments for In-Patient Mental Health

As a pharmacist who is also a musician, I know that music is a powerful drug. It was music that helped me cope with very stressful personal circumstances this past year, and the AWESOME Foundation that allowed myself and those I consider my "weekly music therapy session" to record an album of ourselves playing the music we love to raise money for the local food bank. While working at our local hospital I witness an actual Musical Therapist, Tom Curry, working with patients. He provides therapy on the in-patient Mental Health unit, Geriatric/Stroke unit, and Transitional Level of Care unit. Sometimes patients who are unwilling to take part in other offered therapies will anxiously await Tom's arrival. I have seen patients who are unwilling to interact with staff open up and transform during music therapy, some whom I've thought could have likely been professional singers given different circumstances. Not everyone is blessed with with the confidence or talent to sing out loud, but still enjoy and benefit from his sessions.
I would love for patients to have musical instruments available to have another way to actively participate in Music Therapy, and to have them available as a therapeutic way to pass the time while admitted to our mental health unit. I brought up the idea to apply for an AWESOME Foundation to the Unit Coordinator; she agreed that instruments on the unit would be a great addition, and supported the idea. We brought the idea to Tom Curry, and he was in favor of the idea as well. He has lent the unit an extra guitar of his own, which many patients have used, but I am sure there are other instruments which he could engage people with.

For now I would like the project to focus on the Mental Health Unit and musical Instruments, but after discussion with Tom I discovered he would very much like to be able to have I-Pods for patients in the Stroke Unit. I am unsure how far $1000 will go, but perhaps that could be a second project.

Funded by Antigonish, NS (February 2017)