It is a well-known fact that music is an effective therapy that allows a person to escape, open up, heal, and find themself. At the Lac Écho Portage Drug Rehabilitation Centre (Prévost), residents have access to an incredible music studio largely funded by the Simple Plan Foundation.
An Integrated Music Program
In addition to struggling with addiction problems, adolescents at Lac Écho are increasingly suffering from mental health issues. Music has become an outlet for them to express their inner suffering and daily challenges, in a way that goes beyond the spoken word. The music program taught by Professor Lauren Bélec has become an integral part of Portage’s 6-month residential program.
Access to various instruments and recording equipment is available to all of the adolescents. Weekly guitar, piano, drum, and singing lessons are given by the music teacher so that the kids can work on their skills and craft. This program allows a certain fulfillment for young people at the rehabilitation centre. Over several months, Lauren Bélec and other counsellors observed a notable improvement in overall mood, sleep, and decreased anxiety among program participants.
Music During a Pandemic
Like many organizations, Portage has not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had an impact on all current activities. Portage quickly adjusted its protocols in order to continue servicing its residents and their families. Strengthening health and safety measures allows residents to continue their therapy at Portage, as well as their studies. Music was once again a mainstay for some of them during the pandemic – a way to escape through creativity.
Each year, Potage receives waves of young people to their programs and each year, their achievements are unique. As teaching is based on their musical interests, getting their attention is an easy task. “New talents are always being discovered, which enforces how obvious and invaluable the benefits of this program are,” praises Lauren Bélec. This October, the Recognition Ceremony, which honours all the program’s graduates, was held virtually. The moving ceremony, filled with joy and hope, was enhanced by several exceptional musical performances from Lac Écho.
The Simple Plan Foundation has been a loyal and committed partner of Portage for many years. Posters in hallways featuring the Foundation logo reminds us of the impact the band and their music have on young people. They are inspiring role models for them. As a recognition shoutout for the band, adolescents made a unique guitar as a gift to their idols. Music is most definitely a way of expressing emotions, joy, sadness, recognition – it conveys messages, alleviates pain and softens souls.