The Glenn Gould Foundation has launched Instrumental: Music and Mental Health, an online initiative for youth and teens to raise awareness and promote the value of music as a powerful aid to mental health, and to help them cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Instrumental was inspired by British pianist and best-selling author James Rhodes, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who has documented his use of music as a path toward mental health. The Foundation presented his first Canadian appearances in early 2020.

Mental health professionals, music therapists, and educators provided feedback on the content to maximize its usefulness. Instrumental’s content-rich website is easily accessible and user-friendly. It articulates the importance of music and the arts as a significant supplement to other forms of care for youth and teens. The interactive site includes self-care strategies, user-generated content, videos, lively illustrations and graphics, and a full suite of social media platforms.

Current sponsors and supporters include Heritage Canada – Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music, The Canada Council for the Arts, Power Corporation of Canada, The Jackman Foundation, and Donald K. Johnson, O.C.

The Glenn Gould Foundation is partnering and working with schools, the Canadian Association for Mental Health, the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, and various other groups. It’s also partnering with a variety of brand ambassadors and other supporters, including Luna Li, to help publicize Instrumental. Watch our trailer here.

“Music has, quite literally, saved my life and, I believe, the lives of countless others. It provides company when there is none, understanding where there is confusion, comfort where there is distress, and sheer, unpolluted energy where there is a hollow shell of brokenness and fatigue,” says James Rhodes, in his book Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music.

“Singing and playing instruments has always been a refuge for me,” says Luna Li. “Whatever I’m feeling, I know that music is there. You don’t have to play onstage or go on tour to find that. Now, there’s an online community to help teens find the mental health benefits that music offers. Whether it’s listening, jamming, or just taking a second to breathe, Music helps us connect.”