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Military Suicide Up 20%

Six-months into this “new norm,” and everything still feels very strange and heavy.

On the way to my office this morning, I heard these statistics on the radio, and I had to take a minute to wrap my head around these numbers that were screaming out to me over the car stereo:

Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019 …

And senior Army leaders — who say they’ve seen about a 30% jump in active duty suicides so far this year — told The Associated Press that they are looking at shortening combat deployments … *

Last year, the suicide rates, 20% lower than now, were still too high and unacceptable. It is overwhelming to think of each and every one of the lives that have been tragically changed because of these statistics.

I do not have all of the answers, and these situations can be so complicated; but I do know that music therapy services can help our active-duty military members and veterans. Not only does our field have the research to show this, but we have firsthand anecdotal evidence that music therapy can improve overall well-being and the outlook for the sometimes long road ahead.

Our team partners with WWP to provide in-person and telehealth music therapy services, and we are also very proud to partner with Music Therapy of the Rockies, a non-profit very near and dear to us that provides Songwriting Retreats for Veterans with PTSD.

If you or a loved-one is struggling due to military-related trauma, please know that we can help — no matter where you are. Our team now provides telehealth services to clients all over the globe, and we would be honored to walk alongside you during this crucial time.

With you in the hard times and the good,

 

 

 

 

*Read the full article from WSB News & Talk here.

A COVID-19 UPDATE

UPDATED 9/1/2020:

To our Dear Clients,

It has been 6 months since we have seen each of you in-person, and boy do we feel that! We miss you all tremendously, and cannot wait until we can be together in the same room for music therapy and music lessons.

This is my reason for writing to you today: we feel the tension of both wanting to open back up and resume as much normalcy as possible, while we also know that we do not know enough just yet to do this in a safe manner.

While to you and your family it may only be 30-45 minutes with one of our staff members once a week, which sounds like low exposure, our team collectively works with over 60 families and facilities, which impacts all of our chances of potential exposure dramatically. Simply stated: in order to continue keeping your families safe, we are not ready to resume in-person services just yet.

We are closely following the CDC and WHO guidelines, and we are also keeping a pulse on the happenings around the State of Georgia. Once we feel that we can safely re-open our Studio space and return to visiting our client’s homes and facilities, I promise that you will be the first to know!

In the meantime, we have been thrilled to continue music therapy services via teletherapy and we are so grateful that we have this option. If you have opted not to participate in teletherapy up to this point, but would like to go ahead and get started, please reach out!

Thank you for your patience over the last two months as we have navigated this journey together. We are grateful for each of you!

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Mallory Even, LPMT, MT-BC
Owner & Director of Metro Music Therapy 

 

How Great Thou Art

Over the past few weeks, our team has been hard at work behind the scenes creating a virtual choir/orchestra as a gift for Ravi Zacharias from his daughter, Naomi Zacharias, who is the Director of Wellspring International.

MMT and Wellspring have partnered together over the last five years to provide music therapy services through our Songs of Hope program to hospice patients, bereaved children, and refugees who have resettled in the Atlanta area.

When Naomi approached our team with the request of creating this gift for her father, who has been undergoing cancer treatment over the last few months, we were humbled to have been asked.

Everyone at Wellspring International and RZIM have become near and dear to us over the years, and we wholeheartedly respect and admire the work they do around the globe.

While Naomi and her family navigate this difficult journey, we are honored to provide comfort in the way that we know best: through music.

You can watch the MMT virtual choir, beginning with a heartfelt message from Naomi, here.

To the Zacharias family: our thoughts, hearts, and love are with you all. #ThankYouRavi

With sincere gratitude and love,

 

MMT Singing-gram

We all want to be together again, doing the things we love.
We want to laugh together and celebrate birthdays and weddings,
cry together and grieve the normalcy we’ve lost,
and we long to hug each other through all of it.

Our team feels this with you and we want to help you
stay connected to those you love during this time.

Be TOGETHER while social distancing.

Here’s how:

  1. Choose a date and time from our Singing-gram calendar
  2. Enter your contact information and the contact information of your loved one who will be receiving the live Singing-gram
  3. We will email the recipient (and cc you) with the link for the Singing-gram and the date and time to login (the song you choose will remain a surprise until the delivery of the Singing-gram!)
  4. The best part? You will be on the call, too, so that you can see your loved ones’ reaction! You can also send the link to other friends and family members if this is a gift from multiple people/families!

Help Spread the Word: When you post images and videos of the live Singing-gram on social media, use #MMTSinginggram and @MetroMusicTherapy to help us spread the word! You can also ask the recipient to keep the love going by nominating another recipient!

Once the Singing-gram has been delivered, and we have made you and your loved one(s) smile, please consider making a donation to Metro Music Therapy to help cover the costs of spreading cheer! (Suggested donation of $20.00 per Singing-gram: paypal.me/metromusictherapy)

We are here for you!

Social Distancing is not easy. We are here to help.

WE ARE PROVIDING THE FOLLOWING SERVICES ONLINE FOR CURRENT AND NEW CLIENTS:

Due to social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we are so grateful to be able to continue our music therapy services online for all of our current clients. Teletherapy services have allowed us to safely provide for our local clients, in addition to clients scattered through the U.S. and the globe!

We are also accepting new clients at this time. Please read more about the benefits of and requirements for teletherapy here.

Healthcare providers, front-line emergency responders, and employees of school systems and educational institutions are feeling a high level of stress during this quickly evolving and ever-changing global pandemic.

Our team provides online individual and group wellness services for organizations, groups, or even families who need to intentionally carve out time to pause, process, and reflect. Learn more about our Wellness services here.

We believe that when it can be, music therapy should be conducted in-person to be able to best meet the needs of each of our clients.

We also know that being face-to-face is not an option right now, and live teletherapy may not be accessible or even appropriate for all of our clients.

If you or your loved one would benefit from curated, individualized pre-recorded musical video content from one of our therapists, which could be accessed at a time that works best for you, we can do this for you.

Please reach out to find out how!

Facility on lockdown? Trying to find and create ways to bring music and joy into the lives of your clients and patients who can’t even leave their rooms? 

We can help. Let’s schedule a time to talk about how to bring appropriate music in safe ways to your clients and patients. We have some great ideas and would love to share them with you! Here’s a list to get you started.

We want to help you during this time, to get through this time,
and to be there for you long after this is all said and done.
Please reach out; you’re not alone!

Your partner in Good Health,

Don’t Stop the Music!

Hello world!

Even if we can’t see you in person, please don’t stop the music! 

Did you know? “Listening to the music you love will make your brain release more dopamine, a crucial neurotransmitter for humans’ emotional and cognitive functioning.” (more here)

We have curated a list of ways that you can continue to have music in your life, and we have even included open-window singing grams.

I. TELETHERAPY & LESSONS

We now have an online platform which allows us to connect through video and audio with our clients! You do not need an account – we just send you the link to connect via email! We know that most facilities cannot have residents and clients together in the group rooms, which means everyone under your roof needs social connection now more than ever! Here is what is needed for individual teletherapy or telelesson sessions:

  • Broadband internet (15MB/second download speed and 5MB/second upload)
  • A smart device with a built-in camera and microphone (phone/tablet/laptop)
  • A family member or staff member to help support the logistics of the session (holding the device, adjusting volume, screen placement, and physical support to ensure safety)
  • Facilities: the ability to clean each device before moving from room to room (hospital steriwipes are great!)
  • We are now accepting NEW telelesson clients! If you are ready to give it a go, complete our online survey to make sure you are all squared away!

II. RECORDED MUSIC

Facilities:

  • Take a survey with your residents and find out what their favorite music is — genre, artist, decade, etc (these conversations alone will be so valuable to them!)
  • Provide this music for residents through CD players, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, etc.
  • Be sure to build in breaks while providing access to this music – sometimes too much stimulation can cause agitation
  • Here at MMT we call it the “45/15 rule” – 45 minutes of music listening, then at least a 15 minute break — music is only powerful when there are also times of silence
  • Check in on your residents often and watch for signs of agitation, over-stimulation, or strong emotional reactions. If any of these are present, ask the resident if they would like to take a break, and possibly change genres of music.
  • How do we feel about headphones and iPod programs? They are great for some purposes, just be cautious on when to use them! If your residents are already feeling isolated, they may want to listen out in the open of their room and have a staff member listen with them, as opposed to having headphones on and feeling even more isolated. Ask them their preference!

Families: Parents, now is your chance! You have total control over all of the ears in your house! 😉

  • Play your favorite music for them, play their grandparents’ favorite music for them
  • Ask them what their favorite songs are
  • Write songs together (this doesn’t have to be hard: think mad libs to a familiar song/tune!)
  • Have your kids call their friends and ask them to name their favorite songs, and then help your kids create a playlist on Amazon Music, Spotify, etc.
  • Show them how to share this playlist so their friends can listen
  • Turn pencils, pots and pans into drums and make a band
  • Have your kids call your parents and interview them about their favorite music, who they saw in concert when they were younger, and what songs became the most important to them throughout their years
  • Make a family anthology with everyone’s favorite titles and artists. The possibilities are endless, and the memories you make will be priceless. Your kids will always remember this time, and of dancing in the kitchen to their parents’ and grandparents’ favorite music – even if they “don’t like it now.” 😉

III. ALEXA!

  • Get smart! (speakers and TVs)
  • Families, sing-a-long videos and movies are fun! (Hint: they don’t have to be new movies … the movies from your childhood are great!)
  • If in a facility and your residents have access to smart TVs, you can access music apps on the tvs, and some apps or playlists even have visuals to go with the audio for added visual stimulation.
  • If you can, get smart speakers for your resident’s rooms, teach them how to ask Alexa to play their favorite hits!
  • If you need pricing and details for administrative purchase approval, these Amazon Echo Dots are small and pretty well-priced (make sure your facility has good wifi before purchasing!)
  • Set up a charging station in the activity therapy office so that all equipment is stored and charged safely; wipe each speaker down in between use

IV. OLD-FASHIONED SERENADE

  • Facilities: We know we can’t come in to your facility … but if the windows can open in your facility, or if your residents have patios that open to a common outdoor green, and you are in our service area, we will come to you from outside! An open-window singing-gram!
  • Reach out to us to find out more about scheduling a time for us to come make our rounds at your facility or home!

V. HOMESCHOOL BLUES?

Families, while your children are completing their homeschool or digital learning day assignments, play some music in the house to help ease some tension (for everyone)!

  • Play instrumental music with no lyrics (when our brains hear lyrics, they want to sing along which may be distracting while completing school work!)
  • Less can be more! Save the orchestral symphonies for another time in the day – for studying, go for simplistic (piano, guitar or strings, spa music, etc)
  • Place the speaker in a room that allows everyone to hear, but is not too loud or too close to a child studying — you’re going for background ambiance, not front-row rock concert
  • Play something that you will all like – no sense in making yourself tense while trying to help your kids relax 😉
  • Mix it up! Our brains like novelty and respond well to it; if the music becomes too predictable, our brains will begin picking up on patterns and anticipating what is coming next (a great exercise, but again, could be distracting!)

Let us know how we can continue to support you. We’re all in this together!

Your partner in good health,

Music Therapy Advocacy!

Happy Music Therapy Advocacy Month!

As a music therapy intern who just completed my internship at Metro Music Therapy, I have had the opportunity to experience the multitude of ways that music therapy can positively transform patients’ lives. Academic classes in college certainly hammered in AMTA’s definition of music therapy such that I could recite it in my sleep: “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Practicum sites in college gave me glimpses of how that definition applied to direct patient care. However, completing internship and learning to implement such music interventions with a more diverse variety of populations than I could have ever imagined has given me new insight into the importance of music therapy advocacy.

Music therapy groups can create a safe space with a sense of belonging for youth in the foster care system who have rarely known what belonging felt like before. They can create a welcoming community for refugee children who are navigating an entirely new country. Music therapy can provide comfort and relief from agitation for hospice patients who are nearing the end of their lives. It can increase quality of life for residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and memory care units. Music therapy can provide a unique outlet for emotional expression and processing for veterans who are suffering from symptoms of PTSD. It can help mitigate symptoms of mental illness for individuals in a behavioral health facility. Music therapy can do all of this and so much more.

Atlanta Veteran Songwriting Retreat – November 2019

With increasing advocacy efforts for music therapy, music therapists can continue to work with the populations most commonly served, expand services for those populations less commonly served, and design new programs to reach populations that have not yet had the opportunity to reap the benefits of high-quality music therapy care. As I have seen during my time at Metro Music Therapy, with a positive attitude that anything is possible, music therapy can continue to transform clients’ and patients’ lives for the better.

– Written by Haley Smith

Veteran Retreat

In just a few short weeks, in partnership with Music Therapy of the Rockies and Wellspring International, Metro Music Therapy will be co-hosting a Songwriting Retreat for Veterans with PTSD right here in Atlanta. This retreat will be the first of its kind in the Atlanta area, and we are honored to bring this life-changing experience to our local Veterans!

Throughout the retreat weekend, 12 Veterans will partake in group music therapy sessions, group guitar lessons, and will work with a professional songwriter to share their stories and turn them into original song. The weekend concludes with a warm, intimate concert where each Veteran’s song will be performed and heard by their family, friends, and peer Veterans who have experienced the weekend with them.

If you believe in the power of music like we do, and want this retreat to be the start of a new journey for a Veteran diagnosed with PTSD, here are 3 ways you can help today:

  1. REFER A VETERAN: If you know of a Veteran with PTSD in the Atlanta area, and you think this retreat could be just what they need, please have them fill out the Request for Retreat Registration form here. If you are the Veteran with PTSD who could benefit from this experience, please follow the link above to request retreat registration.
  2. REFER A MUSIC THERAPIST: One of the most unique aspects of this Veteran Retreat, which differentiates the event from most other Veteran songwriting experiences, is that the entire retreat is planned and led by a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) who is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with other MTs. Because of this, MT-BCs can attend a continuing education training the 2 days prior to the retreat and are also involved in the retreat for the entire weekend to complete their training and education. There are not many opportunities out there like this, and having been through the training and experience myself, I can attest that the Veterans lives are not the only ones changed through this weekend. If you are an MT-BC or know of one who is interested in signing up for this CMTE course, please request the Workshop Registration here.
  3. MAKE A DONATION: This retreat is completely FREE for each Veteran who attends! Retreat attendance includes meals, all group and individual sessions, and a guitar which each Veteran keeps. To make this possible, we need donations of all sizes. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.
photo credit: Marcus Serrano

This Veteran Retreat will be held from November 15-17, 2019, in Alpharetta, GA. For more details about the retreat, or for questions about any of the above, please reach out any time: mallory@metromusictherapyga.com

With love,

2019-10-22T16:53:09+00:00September 11th, 2019|Mental Health, MT in Healthcare, Veterans, Wellness|

Mindful Moments

womens centerThe path leading to the Women’s Center Labor and Delivery unit may not always lead to the ending that parents have in mind.

While experiencing some of their deepest sorrow, families at Northside Hospital are surrounded by love and support from the H.E.A.R.T.strings Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care team.

Perinatal Team and Mallory

Our team was thrilled to partner with this amazing department to create a relaxation CD for families who have suffered an unimaginable loss.

The MMT team poured months of work into this labor of love, and this morning, Mallory was thrilled to hand-deliver 100 “Mindful Moments” relaxation CDs to the hospital!

These CDs will be given to families upon discharge from the hospital in order to bring comfort and to create a time for healing and relaxation to take place whenever needed.

A huge thanks to our Assistant Director, Sam Shanine, for composing, recording, and producing the musical tracks for this album, to the MMT team and the H.E.A.R.T.strings team for writing the scripts, and to Selena Fettig of Beanpress Cards for the cover and insert layout and artwork.

Days like these remind us to continue to be grateful to have meaningful connections with others – whether it’s with our colleagues in the caring professions or with families that we may never meet, but who have already touched our lives.

 

front cover

order of CD

cd label

MM Atlanta

 

 

 

Another Year of Amazing …

songs of hope image2I will never forget the day this summer …

… that I received a phone call from the mother of a 13-year-old who had a terminal diagnosis. “I know that music therapy is effective for my child, but we cannot afford services on top of all of the medical bills. Is there a way that you can help?”

Because of our partnership with Wellspring International, my answer was, “Yes, we can help. We will have a music therapist come out to your home this week and begin services at no cost to you and your family.”

We received word last Friday that our grant-funded music therapy program, Songs of Hope, will be funded for the next fiscal year by Wellspring International (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017).

What does this mean for Atlanta?

It means that hospice patients and their families, bereaved children, and refugees that are currently residing in Atlanta, will all have access to music therapy services at absolutely no cost to them.

It means that patients and their families can be supported during their darkest and most difficult times. It means that children can begin their healing process and have a supportive presence throughout their grief and loss journey. It means that refugees of all ages and from all over the world can receive support during some of life’s hardest transitions.

How has Songs of Hope already made in impact in Atlanta?

One of our partner hospice companies, Ark Hospice, says this of the Songs of Hope Music Therapy Program:

Our Ark Hospice team is truly so thankful for the services that MMT has provided to our patients and families. We have seen how their calming presence and therapeutic sessions have improved our patients’ lives. They’ve helped our patients with pain management, encouraged healthy coping skills, improved their quality of life and have facilitated emotional expression, reminiscence, and life review.

They also served many of our patients individually, and one particular patient struggled through a period of depression related to feeling purposeless in life. As Sam continued to meet with her and connect through music, he was able to help restore some confidence in her spiritual purpose and was able to provide healthy distraction from her anxiety and physical pain. He taught her coping skills that she was able to use when our team was not there to provide reassurance. She always talked about how much she enjoyed his visits and how she felt calmer and more at peace as a result.

Another patient was unable to speak English –  Spanish was her native language. Erin quickly volunteered to provide services to her and was able to play Spanish hymns and folk songs. Though this patient was nonverbal and Erin was only able to provide a few sessions before she was off of hospice services, her family was extremely appreciative and truly believed that her quality of life was greatly improved during her final weeks of life. They even asked Erin to play for her Memorial Service.

I know that these brief stories cannot adequately capture all that MMT had done, but I hope that they provide a snapshot of how music therapy has impacted our hospice patients throughout their end-of-life journeys. Thank you again for all that you do at Metro Music Therapy!

Elizabeth in session_edited-1

We are honored, humbled, and thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with Wellspring International in order to make a positive impact in the lives and hearts of the people of Atlanta.

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2016-12-03T04:33:09+00:00September 1st, 2016|Grief & Loss, Hospice Music Therapy, MT in Healthcare, news|
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