Jenny’s story: recording in a studio through social prescribing

Jenny’s story: recording in a studio through social prescribing

Tash Bright No Comment

Jenny moved to Sheffield in April 2018 “with just a suitcase and a guitar.” Earlier that year, she had felt the push to leave the seaside town she had been living in to move to Sheffield the “music city.” Jenny was excited about “all the music venues, nightlife and students” and moved to do what she wanted to do – make music.

Alone in a city she didn’t know, Jenny was working in hospitality, living in a shared house and her mental health began to deteriorate. Seeking help after a mental health crisis, she was referred to Door 43, the emotional wellbeing service for young people at Sheffield Futures.

“From the first moment I visited Door 43, I felt like I was listened to,” she said. “Door 43 was a really warm and welcoming environment and I felt that when I told my story, that my worker really listened.”

Jenny began to visit the weekly Wellbeing Café, a drop-in session filled with positive activities, staff and volunteers to talk to, cups of tea and inspirational talks from sportspeople, musicians and more about their own mental health stories.

Jenny’s worker encouraged her to follow her dreams and to do what she wanted to do when she moved to the city, make music. Together they worked on exercises to increase Jenny’s confidence and began to look to the future and exploring Jenny’s passions.

Jenny found herself out of work and unhappy with her living situation. One of her coping strategies was playing her guitar and writing songs about her feelings, and unfortunately she had to sell her guitar to pay her rent. Her worker knew how much this meant to her and through a social media shout-out, managed to get Jenny a kindly donated guitar and keyboard within 24 hours.

Jenny said: “The guitar and keyboard kept me alive.”

Jenny moved out of her shared accommodation into a house on her own and began feeling much better.

When Door 43 held a grand opening for their premises, with Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, they asked Jenny to perform one of her songs. It was Jenny’s first public performance in over a year, and her first in Sheffield. She said: “No-one in Sheffield had heard my music and I was really nervous, but it went really well. Afterwards I felt so much more confident and I got some great feedback.”

Through Sheffield Futures social prescribing programme, Jenny was introduced to Nigel Humberstone, who runs Beehive Works, a music studio in Sheffield. He had kindly offered studio time and assistance for Jenny to record an EP of songs about her mental health. Jenny said: “Recording my music is something I’ve always wanted to do. I used to record my songs on voice notes on my phone! Nigel and Klive have been so helpful and have made sure that everything has been done properly. I feel like there are no limits on what I can achieve now.”

Jenny has launched a Bandcamp, where people can hear and buy her music. She has finished recording five songs about her mental health journey and is looking forward to playing some shows over the summer. She said: “I’ve had to be patient and work hard to record these songs, everything takes longer than you think it will – but I’m excited to start gigging over summer. I’m being realistic and trying to be organised, but I’ll always be a dreamer.”

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