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10 September 2020 | Story Barend Nagel | Photo Barend Nagel

There is a notable quote by one of the most prolific and influential composers ever, that says: 

“The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence in between.”
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart’s proclamation is relevant, now more than ever. In many cases, we may not realise that those who are more silent than others are most likely faced with adversity in terms of their mental health.

To counteract this silence, UFS Clinical Psychologist, Angela Vorster from the School of Clinical Medicine, devised the UFS Medical Students ‘Unplugged’ initiative as part of a larger campaign. Vorster says the campaign creates an opportunity to encourage students to reconnect with their soulful side.

“Each year we choose a mental-health issue and focus our theme on raising awareness – e.g. suicide awareness.” This year’s theme is ‘In my blood’ depression and anxiety awareness. Sadly, the 2020 ‘Unplugged’ event had to be cancelled due to the unfortunate (and mentally taxing) circumstances we are currently facing around the globe. Nonetheless, Vorster’s evident compassion and benevolence towards individuals’ mental health did not allow the pandemic to discourage her from finding innovative ways of keeping harmony.

“Once we all returned to a 'new normal', I invited our students to submit recordings of their music. This then became a channel of its own on YouTube – and we could not be prouder of our musically talented students.” According to Vorster, research and literature have established that music has a significant impact on relieving emotional distress and improving our moods. “It became evident during therapy sessions how important music is in helping our students express their emotions, relax, and also engage their creativity,” says Vorster.

With Mental Health Month inching it’s way closer, and World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, we should all embrace the ‘magic’ of music and the positive effects it has on our psychological and mental well-being. So, turn up the volume and defeat the silence in your life with your favourite music. Play an instrument, turn up the volume on your iPod, sing in the shower, or watch the UFS Students ‘Unplugged’ videos on YouTube; allow music to heal your ‘silences in between’.

 


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