Beethoven once said "Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." That's exactly why the Avera Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls is using music therapy to reach some of their adolescent patients.
Jeremy Willet is the lead singer in the Maryland based band Willet. The group performed at the LifeLight Music Festival in Worthing and while he was here he went to the Avera Behavioral Health Center to talk to some of the adolescents in in-patient treatment about how music can serve as an outlet for expressing emotion.
Jeremy says, "We don't have all the answers and we are very vocal about that to our audience, but today I'm here to love these kids and tell them you have hope. You have opportunity. It's a time in their life you can use creative ways to express what you are feeling, what you've been through and you have people here to rally around you."
Jeremy knows they are having a tough time and since the tweens and teens couldn't go to the festival. He brought a little of it to them.
Avera Behavioral Health's Dr. Mark Vandebraak is a Fellow in Thanatologist and Music Therapy-Board Certified says, "It says people care, yeah people care. That is so important because when you are struggling especially adolescents and children struggling with depression, anxiety all those things you feel like you are the only one. Hopefully this says you know what you aren't and people are willing to reach out and connect. It's very positive."
Jeremy not only showed the kids his process in writing songs he sang part of their ballad "Shelter" off their Teeth of a Lion, Fangs of a Lioness Album.
Dr. Vandebraak says, "What gets you in to trouble is when an individual is stuffing all those feelings down and music is that component, that element in life to say you know what? We can do things in a different way. Why do you connect with certain music? Well because the artist is saying what we feel. "
Therapists say having a real singer/song writer share their vulnerability leaves a lasting impression on some pretty impressionable kids desperately looking for the shelter Jeremy Willet is singing about. Hopefully, they found it here.
Avera is an official sponsor of the LifeLight Music Festival. Many of the employees of Avera Behavioral Health volunteered over the weekend. This is Jeremy Willet's 5th year of visiting kids in the adolescent wing.