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Rocking their way to better mental health
The third annual Let it Out! Summer Rock Camp takes place July 8 through Aug. 30, with four two-week sessions at Robert A. Steen Community Centre.
Presented by the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba (MDAM), Let it Out! sees youth ages 13 to 17 learning the ins and outs of rock ’n’ roll, while also discussing mental health.
In the first week of Let it Out! the participants are organized into bands by age, skill level and musical taste and then work together to cover a song. In week two, the groups write their own tune, culminating with a concert at the end of the camp.
A portion of each day is spent teaching participants how to help themselves and others cope with mood disorders.
"I think it’s just about being around a bunch of people who are in the same boat as them," says Taylor Demetrioff , Let it Out! creator and MDAM’s director of youth programming.
"They all just ‘get it’ and are easily able to connect with one another. Plus, music’s a really cool base to connect on."
Demetrioff, 22, knows all about the healing powers of music. At age 18 he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and says music has helped him immensely.
"Through the help of music and other resources, I have completely rewired my brain so it can function properly," says Demetrioff, who is the vocalist/guitarist for local band Waterfront Drive.
"I used music in many ways. I did a lot of writing to get my thoughts out. That helped a lot. By writing songs on my guitar I was able to turn my emotions into music, which was really cool. I also did a lot of drumming because it was physically exhausting and that helps a lot with endorphins."
"I still have bad days, but I now have such a great awareness of my triggers that I would never let myself fall back into that place."
Griffin Jenkins has participated in Let it Out! for the past two years. The 16-year-old musician has dysthymia, a mood disorder that includes low energy, depression and anxiety.
"The camp was hugely beneficial for me," Jenkins says, who plays guitar as well as drums, bass and piano.
"It really helped me learn how to work with other musicians to reach the common goal of a successful song and performance. These skills have helped me with the bands I have been in since the camp.
"Mentally, it’s been even more beneficial, knowing that there are other people who are experiencing the same things I am. I also learned some great techniques to help cope with rough days and I have used those strategies to help other people going through rough times as well."
Demetrioff stresses that one doesn’t have to have a mood disorder to take part in Let it Out! saying the coping mechanisms taught are applicable to all teens.
Registration for Let it Out! is $50 per two-week camp. To register or for more information, send an email to:
Or phone (204) 786-0987.
Deadline for registration is June 29.
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