Posted on: 20 November 2023
Nine men have successfully completed the first Finding Rhythms Project in Harrow!
Young Black men face unequal access to mental health support. They are more likely to experience inpatient admissions, more likely to experience restrictive practice and less likely to be offered therapies (NHS Digital, 2016; 2021). Attempting to address these inequalities, CNWL's Clinical Psychologist, Dr Shona Herron and the Harrow Acute Mental Health Services designed a project to support men who have had multiple admissions and traumatic experiences of services. The hope was to meet the mental health needs of young Black men, and begin repairing relationships with services.
The project has involved partnering with Finding Rhythms (FRs), who specialise in providing high quality music interventions for people facing social adversity, often labelled as “hard to reach”.
FRs provide professional musicians and record producers who are trained to work in a trauma-informed way, and together with Dr Herron have worked with a group of nine men to write an album of original music. This group is an alternative way for the men to express their emotions, process trauma, and fight mental health stigma.
The album, Hotter Than Water, is made up of 15 tracks, spans a range of genres; including Jazz, Rap, RnB, Hip Hop and Garage. All tracks were written and recorded by the men in the group, and cover themes of love, family, freedom, and mental health.
The group has had great feedback, with 80% of men reporting an improvement in wellbeing over the 12-week program. A participant said,
“I have gained more confidence. […] there were no bad vibes, it was always supportive and encouraging.” Importantly, 100% of the men surveyed reported feeling safe, respected in the group. One man said, “I was able to express my emotions. No matter what I had going on, I could come into the group every week and express myself. […]. It felt safe to do that.”
100% of the men surveyed reported feeling confident and proud of themselves at the end of the group.
The group has required collaboration between NHS, charity and funding partners, with the project demonstrating that young Black men are keen to engage in services where they feel respected and valued, and importantly, where their voice is heard.
The album launches on Spotify (search Finding Rhythms) in the coming month, with an event taking place in November to celebrate the men’s achievements. A second project gets underway in January with a further group of men – watch this space!