Slush puppies strike a chord with new mental health initiative

A new musical initiative has been set up to help promote the recovery of those suffering mental health issues. The GAMH south musical project, also known as the “Slushpuppies”, hope to take the world by storm with their range of musical talents.

Mhairi Ross, one of the founders of the project, believes that the musical ventures of the group will help encourage a positive recovery for those who suffer from mental health difficulties.

“One of the aims of this project is to help those who have suffered gain full recovery with the aid of music. I firmly believe that the relationships formed within the group as well as the creative outlet music provides, helps people come to terms with their mental illness.”

The “collective wellness” of the group, which was formed in November last year, is the main priority of the Glasgow Association for Mental Health.

Whether it be by listening to music from guest performers or by playing their own music the service users aim to promote a positve mental health message. As well as this they aim to improve their own health and Mhairi Ross believes that such methods can do this:

“Music is a very powerful medium and is great for the self expression of individuals. We have tried to create a safe environment in which people can share their music and poems without feeling intimidated.”

The group has come on leaps and bounds from their initial set up. From listening to music, the Slushpuppies have now even played at outdoor festivals as well as for mental health functions. They have also just produced their very own CD which highlights the range of musical endeavours that the project covers.

From poetry to Cantonese renditions, the CD covers a whole range of the musical spectrum. The CD which was recorded at Carlton Studios has been described as “Country Rock” but their musical limitations doesn’t stop there

“We are generally regarded as Country Rock but there is an extensive range to what we put out there. There is a mixture of influences from poetry reading, Gospel to even some of the harder rock. The service users come from an array of backrounds so each and every one have brought their own infulences to the band.”

Such is the popularity of the group, a second group has been formed. Although only in their infant stages, the group have been taking part in workshops and hope to emulate the success of the Slushpuppies.

The interest generated from the service users helped form the project and now the initiative is hoping to extend to other GAMH initiatives. For now though the project is based in the Southside of Glasgow.

One of the tricky elements of the project was trying to agree to a sound that the group would build on.

“We declared from the start that we would give each others musical taste the chance to be heard. We listened to all sorts, such as percussion to Country Rock. After listening to guest performers we started to play ourselves. We played at functions and also played at an outdoor festival at refugee week.”

“The enthusiasm of the service users has made it a joy to be a part of. And already we are seeing the returns. The growth of confidence in people, the togetherness of the group. It has all aided to the recovery of individuals.”

The project is hoping to run indefinitely and the group hope to work on new material for the new year. So remember you heard it here first. The Slushpuppies are set to take over the world.

Story by David.

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