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Reform Magazine | October 16, 2021

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Here and Now: Jo Harris

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

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This is an extract from an article published in the October 2021 edition of Reform

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