A SHETLAND teenager had a day to remember on Monday when she met one of her favourite bands in Edinburgh before seeing them perform thanks to a non-profit group which gives vulnerable people the opportunity to see live music.
Aimee Hussey, who is 15 and suffers from depression, was treated to a trip south to see chart-topping US rock band All Time Low in what was her first concert experience after getting in touch with Given To Live.
The Bristol organisation pays for tickets and transport to allow “disadvantaged or excluded people” across the UK to see live music.
Not only did the 15 year old get to see the show at the Corn Exchange, but Given To Live surprised Aimee with the chance to meet the band at the venue before the gig.
The teenager, who was accompanied by her mum, said it was an “amazing” experience that made her feel both nervous and excited.
Aimee’s battle with depression has, over the years, seen her perched at the brink multiple times, while she also spent six months in a young person’s secure unit.
She told Shetland News that she initially felt she was “not good enough” to take part in the trip, but she was encouraged by family to go.
Aimee and her mum travelled to Aberdeen to meet Given To Live founder Tom Pugh before heading to Edinburgh on the train, with all transport covered by the organisation.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the show because depression blocks everything positive out of your life, so you’re left with nothing but your demons,” she said.
“But when it got closer to the concert it gave me a goal to just keep going.”
The teenager said she has often used music in a therapeutic way when she is feeling low.
“It doesn’t cure anyone, but the music I listen to explains the way I feel and makes light of the situation,” Aimee said.
“Back when I was in a psychiatric hospital for young people I listened to music quite a lot because it was the only familiar thing to my head which helped because I was a mess and believed I was crazy.
“It didn’t cure me but it was nice just to take some time out of the hospital life and listen to what I enjoy. I also had a care plan for when I was sitting at the dinner tables where I could have one earphone in and listen to music because I wasn’t eating, and the nurses let me listen to encouraging songs and it got me to eat a tiny bit more.
“That isn’t a lot, but it’s more than sitting in my room in tears. So it did help me push through things a bit more.”
Despite her initial nerves about taking part in the trip south, Aimee said the music-filled holiday helped to boost her self-confidence.
“I think it did show me that I can do things like that no matter what goes on in my head,” she said.
Speaking after the trip, Pugh said he hopes Aimee’s experiences “can allow hope to grow” in her life.
“We weren’t sure if we’d get to take Aimee to the show, so dark a place was she in when we first spoke,” Pugh said.
“She made it this far which tells of tremendous courage and tenacity. Qualities so more powerful than a thousand likes on social media. Her willingness to be honest [is] testament to her courage.”
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