Living your Bliss with CMHA – Music and mental health

The Blue Lane, pictured performing at the Local Love Live awards, is releasing its new album in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association Colchester East Hants branch’s new building opening celebration.
File photo

“to
be able to find beauty in small things makes it possible for you to find beauty
in everything” — unknown author

I
love music.

The
thing I love the most about it is how it makes me feel. How it seems to be able
to reach directly inside me and help me through some of my toughest times,
helping to bring me out of whatever mental slump I happen to be feeling.

Where
music takes me always ends up being exactly where I want or need to be — right
when I want or need to be there. I listen to sad music when I’m sad so I can
more deeply feel the sadness that I need to feel in that moment. I listen to
upbeat music when I clean my house because it helps motivate me to get a task
done that I would otherwise put off. I listen to music I can sing along to when
I drive so it makes the trip go faster (and, of course, so I stay awake).

Though
I love music and it is a part of my every day, I don’t play any instruments. I
sing (in my car) and I write (poetry that nobody will read but me), but, other
than knowing what I like to hear, I am not musically inclined.

I
have so much respect for (and am very envious of) people who are able to
connect to music in a more tangible way – as a musician, a composer, a singer.

I
had the chance to chat with a local musician, Rachael Henderson, who sings and
plays base in the band The Blue Lane,
about what her experience has been with music and its effect on her mental
wellness.

“My connection with mental illness
started back when I was a child,” said Henderson. “A big role that it’s played
in my life is just not really realizing that I wasn’t coping well with
anything. Even the good sometimes, I couldn’t cope with. The past couple of
years, I’ve really been allowing things to bubble to the surface and trying to
take the lessons and the little kernels of truth within them and see what is
there for me to grow from… and really come to terms with how to deal with my own
mental illness.”

As a musician and a composer, Henderson
described the importance of writing music and lyrics to help her cope with her
own mental health, while connecting with others. “Writing is a huge thing for
me. I always say ‘better out than in’. I think that’s definitely something that
is important – even for people who aren’t artists or musicians or writing, or
anything – is that if you are having a hard time, then it’s better to
communicate about it…

It’s a way for us to connect. I write a
sad song, you may listen to it and (think), ‘Wow, I have had all those feelings
and I had no way to connect with anybody about it or I didn’t know that I was
not the only one.’”

It was from this connection that Henderson
and the members of her band came to partner with CMHA on their album release.

“We thought that pairing our Skyland Saga
release with the Canadian Mental Health Association grand opening would be a
really great way to call attention to mental illness and also draw the
correlation between art and how vital it is to our mental health.”

Not
only can music transport you to a particular time in your life, it can teach
you a lesson right when you need it, it can help you put into words what you
have been struggling to say, and it can help you to feel like you’re not alone.

Music & Mental Health, the CMHA grand opening event, in partnership with The Blue Lane album release, will be held at the NEW CMHA building at 859 Prince St., on Oct. 10.

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