Harnessing the therapeutic power of music to heal trauma of health care in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The North East and North Cumbria Healthcare Staff Wellbeing Hub is delighted to announce a celebratory day of music to help heroic NHS key workers process the trauma of working on the front lines during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This free online event is a collaboration between NHS singer-songwriters and world-renowned composers and musicians. There are some new co-produced songs representing staff across different health sectors and their experiences over the last 18 months. The event will be supported by musicians such as Sting, Eric Clapton, KT Tunstall, Nadine Benjamin and Matthew Sheeran, brought together by the Connection Through Music Volunteers.
Utilising innovative developments in musical therapy, psychological research, wellbeing and music/health technology this event is designed as an act of collective healing for healthcare workers to process the adversity of the last year, find shared meaning and renew their purpose. The Connection through Music team has leveraged this link between music, creativity and emotional wellbeing in order to give something back to the millions of NHS workers who put themselves at risk every day to protect the vulnerable.
This project is funded by NHS England’s new regional support service to help their vital staff navigate the difficulties and trauma of working through the biggest global challenge of recent history. The team is made up of two staff members who work at one of the regional resilience hubs, a musician from the Music Mind Spirit Trust and a composer who was the originator of X-System, a music/health technology that predicts how music make us feel. This team has delivered weekly shows in their own time since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, bringing musical talent and wellbeing messages together for anyone who has wanted to join, as well as specific events for care home staff and those bereaved during the pandemic. These shows take us on musical journeys aimed to bring us together and consider the mental health issues that the isolation, fear, and cultural void of the pandemic gives us an opportunity to reflect on.
The event was initiated by Clinical Director Dr Angela Kennedy, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and NHS England Lead for Trauma Informed, Care, with more than thirty years’ experience in the NHS in the field of psychological trauma, who will host the event. She is supported by Prof. Nigel Osborne, an internationally recognised composer, peace worker, and musical therapy pioneer, who worked with staff to create songs from their experiences. The scientific underpinnings of Osborne’s research on music and psychological wellbeing, paired with cutting edge technology aim to bring together traumatised healthcare staff and channel the power of music on the human mind and body, and the power of song to reflect on our experiences. Nigel is joined by distinguished violinist and educator Dr Chika Robertson, a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Dr Paras Patel, Senior Researcher in NHS Staff Wellbeing Resilience Hub, with a ground-breaking PhD covering the scientific, holistic evaluation of mental health and wellbeing. Much of the production was led by celebrated singer-songwriter Calista Kazuko.
Angela Kennedy said, ‘Our work across the North East and North Cumbria region has revealed the extent of the psychological impact working through the pandemic has caused to our staff. Building on work with music for wellbeing using Nigel’s playlists on the recovery college online website and our weekly Connection Through Music events, this event harnesses the best of what we know about human creativity and connectedness. We hope it signals a new kind of restoration and transformation around the dialogue of mental health that is not just about individuals but also about the community we create.’
The celebration of NHS staff through music was made possible through the support of the North East and North Cumbria Staff Wellbeing Hub sent up by NHS-England as a way of honouring the incredible resilience of NHS key workers in the face of unprecedented challenges by expressing their work through music and creativity.