Kris Kristofferson/John Holt—‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’
As with all the contributors here, my chosen song comes from fieldwork. I spent time in an urban UK mental health community setting, a place which nobody has to attend (it is not part of the statutory psychiatric system), but where people choose to spend time to gain various kinds of support – formal and informal – whilst in other respects living independently despite (in most cases) having a psychiatric diagnosis. Most service users with whom I spent time were male, over forty, long-term unemployed, living on the economic edge, ever fearful about having their benefits withdrawn, and diagnosed with some form of mental illness, most commonly paranoid schizophrenia. My primary reason for being there was to participate in and observe the various interactions around the provision of music in general and music therapy in particular.
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