I have always felt the connection between music and mental health. Whenever I would go to shows, my greatest fulfillment was the feeling I got from the actual artist performing, but also in the joy I felt from the crowd. Shows have been a place of retreat and reset for me since I was a young teenager. I would leave feeling a sense of peace, feeling uplifted, and forgetting all my worries. The main thing I always noticed was how GOOD I felt. And that feeling would last for a long while, and I felt connected to that crowd and that artist, even though the show was over.
My childhood was a good one, but I did have a feeling of loneliness and emotional disconnect from my family. I had parents that worked hard, and when they got home, they were very tired. I was as social back then as I am now. I needed to check in, I needed to feel emotional connectedness. Luckily, I found that in my friends. But more than that, I found it in music. I came from a musical family, so listening to music and also playing music came very natural to me. But, nothing felt better than going to a show. That is where I felt most at home. When I grew up, I became a mental health therapist for kids first, and then for adults and couples. I have been practicing for 15 years. I also have the same love for music and going to see artists perform. In the back of my mind for years, I wondered how I could connect the two.
In January of 2016, I approached the non-profit I worked for about throwing a benefit concert to raise money for a new building that would serve over 150 youth through an after school program. This was something that would grow into a large event that exceeded all of my hopes. I reached out to my music community, and they responded. We held a large event called Rock for Rockwood, and I was overwhelmed with all the people that wanted to participate. I then saw a need, and Music For Mental Health was born. Our vision is to bring musicians together with helping organizations to raise funds and awareness for worthy causes, in the areas of mental health and well-being. The shows that we have produced have brought joy to artists because they are putting their talents towards a greater good through music. The people that attend and donate feel good about contributing to the betterment of mental health, and they connect with music for an overall sense of community. We are located in Portland Oregon, but hope to do our work around the globe someday. Never forget the power of music to help us feel better, and connected, because it truly is a universal language.
And because of this, we are never alone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Nicole McMullin and I am the founder of Music For Mental Health. I also work in a private practice as a therapist. My greatest loves are animals, music, and helping people.