As the nights start to draw in, some people do not look forward to the darker days of winter. Some people with mental health issues find winter particularly difficult, which has prompted me to write about the boomwhacker session we delivered at a major mental health conference last month.

Music therapy to break loneliness and isolation

The Refocus on Recovery International Conference (18-20 September), was the largest scientific conference in the world on recovery for people with mental health problems and included world class keynote speakers and a choice of a hundred parallel sessions. The event, held at Nottingham Conference Centre and organised by Institute of Mental Health (Nottingham) attracted more than 370 delegates from 25 countries.

So why were we asked to facilitate a boomwacker conference ice-breaker? One of the themes contributing to mental health is isolation. The infectious music made by boomwhackers and drumming simply cannot be made by one person alone. Personally, I love music and one of the main reasons for is that I love the shared experience with other people. Our music making is a shared, group activity that is accessible and inclusive to all. Our message was that everyone can do this and everyone needs to take part for it to work. In a facilitated session, everyone will very quickly know what to do and be surprised how easy it is to take part and feel great about their contribution!

Our slot was scheduled as the post-lunch slot on the second day; often a sleepy slot – but not when we are involved – see for yourselves!

We could not have asked for better feedback!

“We really appreciated the boomwhacker activity you ran – it worked amazingly in allowing 400 people from 25 countries to all suddenly speak the same new language! And what you said also helped our delegates to understand the importance of collective activity involving many voices. Many delegates made links between boomwhackers and recovery in mental health (the theme of our conference) – so the activity generated engagement and connections between disparate people! Thank you for such a great contribution.”

Mike Slade, Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, University of Nottingham

For more on how we can we can bring some positive Unbeatable Energy to your conference or event, see our corporate page or call us on 0114 2747527.

Want to discover a new way to socialise through a fun and invigorating activity? Come to our African Drumming evening class.