Here and Now: Jo Harris
Jo Harris celebrates the healing power of music
I am a music student, hoping to one day help those battling mental health, through music, one step at a time. You might be wondering how I might want to do this. Or maybe why. Or even what I have to do with it. So I’d like to give a little bit of backstory to explain how I got to this point.
I began playing piano at the age of six and fell in love with it. From there, I learnt in my primary school to play violin (for a very short period of time) and then baritone horn (which I still play to this day). I joined a Welsh brass band and competed at regional and national levels. When I started comprehensive school, my eagerness to learn about music and develop my skills was at an all-time high. I soloed with the Welsh Sinfonia, played piano during collection at my church and accompanied vocalists during school concerts. Needless to say, I was an adventurous musician who loved how music made me feel.
However, I am a young person who has struggled with mental health issues since I was about 16. I remember the first panic attack I ever had. I felt like I was having a heart attack, like the world was closing in on me. I honestly thought I was going to die. I walked home and told my mum what had happened and she immediately called the doctor for an appointment. The doctor looked at me and told me: ‘It’s exam stress, nothing to worry about!’ I was prescribed a beta blocker and told to go back to school…
Jo Harris is Moderator Elect of United Reformed Church Youth Assembly
This is an extract from an article published in the October 2021 edition of Reform