MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A therapy program for children through the University of Minnesota is being fine-tuned.
A federal study found that teens reported a significant increase in depression and anxiety over the past two years.
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The songs that come out of Lily Erlandson’s mouth reflect the words of her heart. Because, for the junior at Blake School, it’s been a brutal two years.
“It’s been really hard being isolated, I guess,” she said.
He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. So Erlandson uses his voice to control the voices in his head.
“I feel like a part of my brain is talking to me all the time and telling me I’m not good enough or you can’t do this and you can’t do that,” Erlandson said.
She is one of many patients at Masonic Childrens Hospital’s overflowing day treatment center – teenagers in need of mental health help.
“So we’ve seen that demand skyrocket,” said music therapist Kendri Ebert.
“The most important thing, I guess, is probably the music. It’s something I can always go to if I need to express myself or need to relax,” Erlandson said. “I love learning new instruments and messing around and I think that’s something that can help a lot of other people here in the program as well, and just people everywhere.”
But the problem is that the day center instruments are not exactly fine-tuned – they are about 40 years old.
“Our music therapy program at the hospital is wonderfully old. And with that come old instruments,” Ebert said. “We had drums with spill stains on them. The skins of the drums bubbled.
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It’s a troubling situation that caught the attention of a local man who himself has garnered plenty of attention during his 15 years in the NHL.
“For these kids, it’s really important to have a creative outlet to express themselves, whatever their background, going through tough times, finding something to connect with is really important,” said Paul Martin, star retired from the NHL.
Sport was his own outlet. Now he channels his passion into Shine a Light, a nonprofit he runs to support children’s mental health.
His team donated new instruments to Erlandson and his peers, to the tune of $5,000.
“I hope it gets the kids through the hard times and the good times and that they learn a bit about themselves and what’s going on inside of them,” Martin said.
By the look of things – and the sound of things – they feel it.
“We very much appreciate this instrumentation update because it was very, very necessary to provide our patients with the highest quality music possible,” Ebert said.
Because here, music is medicine.
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We have shared more information about Paul Martin’s Shine a Light Foundation and Masonic Hospital Youth Counseling Programs on WCCO.com.