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Care Worker Channels the Power of Music to Transform Lives

A care worker from Edinburgh has been recognised by her employers after using her love of music to transform the life of one of her residents.

Susan Kulik is a support worker at The Laurels, an adult mental health service near Edinburgh, run by Shaw healthcare. One of the residents she looks after had suffered from over 20 years of psychiatric episodes, having battled with alcohol dependency and substance abuse.

Susan recently found out he was a fan of Guns’n’Roses and The Cult and longed to be able to play the guitar. The revelation gave her an idea. Being a musician herself, she started bringing her guitar to work and began teaching him the chords he needed to play his favourite songs.

After a few weeks, he bought himself a guitar and started improving his skills. She even arranged for him to attend his first concert – The Rocky Horror Show at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

His renewed interest in music soon led onto a host of other changes in his life. It encouraged him to improve his health and wellbeing by making changes to his diet and taking up swimming to increase his exercise levels. The positive change in attitude has even started to repair a broken relationship with his parents, who had been driven away by his reliance on drugs and alcohol.

They now meet him every Sunday and are looking forward to a more positive future. They recently wrote to The Laurels, saying, “We feel like we have our son back and can’t thank you enough.”

Faye Mentiplay is the service manager at The Laurels and commended Susan on her commitment, hard work and her passion for supporting the residents.

“The job we do can sometimes be quite challenging,” said Ms Mentiplay. “Susan just typifies the person-centred approach we always try to take at The Laurels, and it is amazing when you see the positive difference it can make to peoples’ lives.”

“I love working at The Laurels and to be able to combine my passion for music with the care we provide to residents has been very rewarding,” added Ms Kulik. “Music can be very powerful and to see how it has been a trigger for such a transformation in one of our residents has been a really positive experience.”