DaMarcus Baymon, chief resident of Emergency Medicine in the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency program, recalls checking the oxygen levels of a patient when he found out his mother had tested positive for COVID.
"I just remember being in a state of complete shock because I knew what to do for that person in front of me, but I didn't know what to do for my mom," he says. "I was very uncertain of what was going to happen."
Bayman's mother has since recovered, but he'll never forget the feeling of not being there to care for her. It's something that many frontline workers are experiencing right now, and their stress levels are hitting unprecedented highs due to the pandemic. It's a problem that Frontline Songsaims to help.
The Boston-based organization is offering a unique collaborative songwriting experience that involves getting a group of medical professionals together for a few hours with a songwriter who turns their personal stories into a song that's true to them, yet also encompasses a shared group experience. The goal is to provide a safe and intimate space for frontline workers dealing in trauma to talk, connect, decompress, and ultimately feel heard.
"We call it therapeutic music rather than music therapy," says Ron Hirschberg, a Frontline Songs member and a physician at Mass General Hospital and Spaulding Rehab Hospital. "People know what they're getting into a little bit in the two-hour session, but they also may not realize until they've gone through the two hours that they were able to express themselves, perhaps more than in a typical therapeutic relationship."
For Baymon, the experience has been cathartic and has allowed him to better connect with co-workers and his patients during the pandemic.
"You deal with so many emotions and so many thoughts, and the heaviness of the job - it's a way to process everything and to challenge it," he says.
Learn more about Baymon and the work that Frontline Songs is doing on Open Studio with Jared Bowen tonight at 8:30pm on GBH2.
WATCH LIVE TONIGHT: Open Studio With Jared Bowen at 8:30pm