Mental health patients at Adelaide’s Glenside Hospital are participating in African drumming classes as a means for managing depression and anxiety, in a fantastic initiative called South Australia Health’s Artist in Residence Program.
Supported by the Centre for Creative Health which is funded by the Hospital Research Foundation Group, the weekly music sessions acts as a social interaction for patients and also acts as a powerful tool for treatment.
Music is used throughout Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and Glenside Hospital as a powerful tool to distract patients from pain and to assist with stress.
Alongside visual art and African drumming workshops, Glenside’s SA Health’s Artist in Residence Program also includes visual art and guitar workshops at RAH.
Recently one of the African drumming workshops featured on the ABC during Mental Health week and was broadcast nationally. You can watch ABC’s report on the program by heading here.
The Centre for Creative Health acts to improve the quality and experience of healthcare through the arts, design and other creative initiatives. Their performance program acts as a vital link between the RAH and the surrounding Adelaide City through various festivals events and performances.
For example, their Music on the Concourse program currently uses a grand in the main foyer of the Royal Adelaide Hospital to engage performers from the Elder Conservatorium, Medical Orchestra, chamber groups, schools and individuals, including both emerging artists and acclaimed professionals. Music on the Concourse will also feature pianists, other musicians and small ensembles (both professional and volunteer) as part of a full monthly program. You can read the program schedule here.
The impact of such an initiative allows the Centre to create a calming atmosphere for staff and patients as they enter the hospital. As Reach Out Australia states, it has been generally accepted that both listening to and creating music can have various positive effects on mood and mental health, so it’s great to see the medical and music world joining forces to explore the benefits of music therapy being incorporated into the Australian health care system.