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Jennifer Mekel Uses Music As Tool To Combat Mental Health

unnamed-30Singer, songwriter, and arranger Jennifer Mekel is using the power of her God given gift of music to bring awareness to an issue that is often considered “taboo” in urban communities.

The popular singer and worship leader, who gained nationwide notoriety with her Top 20 single “Great God”, is now using her platform to address issues of mental health which often go untreated in the African-American community. When Mekel is not touring and sharing her music nationally, she serves as Case Manager for the Minority Behavioral Health Group (MBHG) in Akron, Ohio.

“Music provides avenues for connecting and communication that can be helpful to those who have difficulty with self-expression including connecting with others, inner-self and God,” adds Ciara Dennis, Clinical Coordinator for the Minority Behavioral Health Group (MBHG).

In both spiritual and urban communities, emotional and mental wellness often goes both undetected and unaddressed. According to the website, “Nearly 1 in 5, or roughly 43 million Americans have a diagnosable health condition.” The site goes on to state five signs that a person may be suffering emotionally.  Here are five signs to consider:

  • Not feeling like yourself?
  • Are you feeling withdrawn?
  • Are you feeling hopeless?
  • Are you feeling agitated?
  • Taking care of yourself?

“Therapists and case managers at MBHG often use music to assist their clients explore their personal thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships,” shares Dr. Tania S. Lodge, Clinical Director for the Minority Behavioral Health Group. “Music, in the therapeutic context, is an efficacious and valid mental health intervention that is well documented in the literature and empirically supported.”

As part of this effort, Mekel is teaming with the Akron Symphony Orchestraon an upcoming single that will bring awareness to the importance of spiritual and mental health.  She has a long standing relationship with the Orchestra, as she has partnered with them for the last eight years as the official Chorus Master for the annual Akron Symphony Orchestra’s Gospel Meets Symphony concert.  She continued this tradition this past February, directing both the orchestra and a 200 voice choir at this year’s performance.

Mekel is riding high from the most successful year of her career, as her 2015 song “Great God” was a Top 20 single on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart. The single, which featured The Boys & Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble, introduced Mekel to a national audience, garnering airplay and performances across the country. The single was also part of the compilation effort titled “Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix 2016”, which featured music from Ricky Dillard & New G, Zacardi Cortez, Byron Cage, Earnest Pugh, and more.

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Her brand new single is titled “His Name Is.” Partnering with legendary producer and songwriter H. Doobie Powell, this upbeat track comes just in time for summer, reminding all of the power found in the name of Jesus. This single is now available at all digital outlets and has recently made its way to national radio outlets.

Mekel is a licensed and ordained minister who serves at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Akron, OH, where she also serves as worship leader and conducts Bible Study. She also serves as a radio personality, hosting a weekly show titled POWAMM Radio, airing Sundays at 9:30a ET on 1350AM WARF.

You can stay connected with Jennifer Mekel on her website

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