Making Music

Having recently been discharged from a mental health facility, with particular issues around suicidal ideations, Terry was referred to St Vincent de Paul Society's Ability Links by a social worker to assist him with finding a new residence and employment.

Ability Linkers visited him in his boarding house, where they talked about what Ability Links does, and asked him about what he would like to do. He talked about the housing and employment concerns, but he mostly spoke about his song-writing and passion for music. He played some previously recorded music for them, and spoke about wanting to record some of his new material.

The next time Terry met his Linker, they asked him about what his priorities were, and Terry said he had a casual job, and was happy to stay in the boarding house, and so would really like to focus on the music, the previous discussion having re-ignited his interest in doing something with his music. His Linker told him that this was not a problem; they could focus on goals around his music.

Over the course of several meetings Terry and his Linker worked through several elements of getting a release together - including taking promo photos, uploading his music to a “Bandcamp” webpage, writing a bio together, creating a band email and Facebook page, and design his single and album covers. They communicated regularly via email and using the project management app Trello, to make sure that he was participating in all parts of the process, and offering opinions throughout, where he felt changes were needed. He also started regularly attending a local singer-songwriters monthly event, and performs his songs live to gauge the crowd response, which has been overwhelmingly positive.

Throughout the process they discussed new recordings, and secured a studio space and an engineer. Terry has since recorded several songs and is looking forward to releasing them, utilising the skills and knowledge from previous endeavours. He also won first prize in a local live music competition, and stated that he thought that his work with Ability Links had been a key part of getting him to the point where he is confident enough to perform his work live.

Terry has been really engaged throughout the project, and has expressed many times how glad he is that he was able to prioritise his music, and how it has changed his attitude to his music and confidence levels on the whole.

He is much happier with his boarding house room, has been independently exploring employment options, so as to move off of the Disability Support Pension, seems to be more positive and engaged with the community,  and has enhanced his sense of general well-being. He has not re-admitted to a mental health facility since working with Ability Links, and has taken an active role maintaining good mental health through attending a counsellor, further reducing his need for support from health services such as Partners In Recovery.