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Three U.S. Military veterans use music to heal from their physical and psychological wounds

           Music Vets tells the story of three proud U.S. military veterans in different stages of recovery from PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries. Set in the coastal military communities of Southern California, and the hustle and bustle of New York City; Lito, Ben, and Deborah offer us a glimpse of humanity’s resiliency in the face of adversity. Though they each have very different backgrounds and military experience, all three use the therapeutic power of music to cope and recover – unlocking emotions and finding new ways forward.


           The stories in the film showcase how music can be incorporated as a non-pharmaceutical alternative or supplement to treatments that are often costly, debilitating, or sometimes even deadly. While the film’s focus is on music therapy for military populations, it shows how this under-studied and under-funded treatment can help anyone in crisis – not just Veterans.


         With no mandatory service requirements since the Vietnam War and less than 1% of the population serving in the military, the disconnect between military and civilian populations creates a gap in understanding many veterans’ issues. Music Vets weaves its way through diverse veteran subcultures, revealing intimate, delicate structures of care, family, treatment, and the transformative use of music to aid in their healing processes.


        During their journeys, Lito, Ben, and Deborah discover that music can be used to reach non-musical goals, for example: singing to reconnect neural pathways, songwriting to process trauma, and drumming to reactivate bilateral coordination in the brain.


       As our scientific understanding of music increases, the things we’ve taken for granted about its power and human connection have emerged as having real therapeutic outcomes. Whether recovering from physical or mental wounds, music can play an important part in trauma-focused care and builds tangible skills that can be used when needed most.



Behind the Statistics

  • Approximately 20 US Veterans die by suicide each day

  • What is Trauma Informed Care?

    • Trauma-Informed Care) is an approach in the human service field that assumes that an individual is more likely than not to have a history of trauma. Trauma-Informed Care recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms, considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize.



How to take action

  • Advocacy Tool:

    • As documentary filmmakers we know how powerful media can be. Film has the ability to bring together large audiences, with different backgrounds, experiences, and goals, around a common interest. Agencies, researchers, therapists, veterans organizations, and more can become siloed in their own worlds because they are so busy and focused on serving a specific population. There is so much great work being done, in different places, so one of our main goals is to give all of these groups a convening point to rally around – the film. 

    • The film can be licensed for educational and institutional purposes and we are creating a curriculum and screening guide to facilitate discussion about central themes included in the film. Though this film focuses on military veterans, music therapy can be used for a wide range of populations and the curriculum reflects this.

  • Awareness

    • Music as a means of healing has been around since the dawn of time. Music being used therapeutically has roots back into the early 20th century, but right now, Music Therapy as a scientific discipline is blossoming into a promising and innovative approach to dealing with physical and mental trauma. There has never been a better time to bring awareness to this important practice that can be integrated into trauma-informed care systems throughout our society.

  • Seeking Partnerships:

    • Veteran Service Orgs

    • Music Therapists

    • Hospitals

    • Universities

    • Trauma Informed Care providers

the film
The facts
The mission
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