My colleagues at the National Alliance on Mental Illness here in Oak Park contacted me a few months ago to assist in a project they are affectionately calling NAMI Nation. It’s an arts based approach to support and advocacy where the NAMI members have a chance to work together in performance situations to share their love of music, and use the arts for sustained wellness. Charles Torpe and his colleagues offer open mics, a songwriting group, karaoke, free-style, and poetry slams, and art studio events. Take a look at this video and you will learn a lot more. I enter around 4:35 minutes so enjoy the full presentation and offer your support to this super cool program.
In the continuum of care, you can consider this program not a music therapy program, but a wellness program, or therapeutic arts program. The goals are to embrace the performance opportunities offered to their members as a way to maintain mental health and help members create/express in a supportive environment. As a music therapist working in community mental health, I am grateful to be able to point to this program as an example of how music is used in a wellness model serving our community members and neighbors.