Music providing hope for the future for singer at Cygnet Hospital Beckton

Tasha is a current service user at Cygnet Hospital Beckton, a hospital for women with complex mental health needs. In our latest Music 2 Empower video Tasha describes how writing and performing music has enabled her to get through some of her darkest times and give her hope for the future.

Cygnet Hospital Beckton is involved in a Cygnet-wide initiative – ‘Music 2 Empower’ – which provides music sessions for service users as well as offering the opportunity for studio time to record their own music.

Tasha first accessed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as a teenager and said she was 15-years-old when “things really started to get difficult.”

“I spent time in and out of acute wards,” she explained. “You go for a couple of weeks, then you’re back in the community. I felt like a revolving door patient.

“Music’s always been a big part of my recovery. That’s always been the thing to help me get through the difficult times.”

Tasha added that music help her stay connected to people and keep well, mentally.

She explained: “When I’m not well, I tend to isolate myself.

“I write about how I feel and then I share it with people who can relate to that. It helps build connections with people.”

Jack King, Music Facilitator at Cygnet Hospital Beckton, helps Tasha to record her music and they’ve started writing new songs together. He has seen first-hand the transformative power of music to Tasha’s recovery.

He said: “Music is really helping out with her journey in the sense that it gives her a voice. It gives her a way to express how she feels through her words and songs she writes.
“It also helps build confidence within herself and I’ve seen that confidence grow.

“You don’t often meet someone who is seriously talented and has a brilliant voice and is very good at expressing themselves through words and music.
“Since we started working together, I’ve seen her really come out of her shell.”

Tasha performs her music on the ward to her fellow service users. Describing how it feels to perform to an audience, Tasha said: “I love it. It’s also quite nerve wracking having to sing your most personal songs in front of people. You don’t know what they’re going to think or whether they can relate to the music.

“But I really enjoy it, it’s fun. You’re on a ward, which is already stressful. Just being able to take a break from that I think is really important.”

Cygnet launched the ‘Music 2 Empower’ initiative on World Mental Health Day 2019 and has since rolled out the programme across its hospitals, supporting music therapy-related projects throughout the organisation and allowing service users like Tasha to showcase their abilities, give hope, inspire others and benefit from this well-established psychological approach.
Talking about her future and what she hopes to achieve next, Tasha said she’d love to get back to volunteer work for a music charity which supports people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and dementia.

She added: “This last year has been like a whirlwind of emotions, but in a good way. I went from being quite an angry, not in control, unhappy person to actually being able to work through things I’ve never been able to work through before.

“I’m a lot happier.”

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