Dylan Hibbert

Dylan works on secure and forensic unit at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as a Technical Instructor working aongside a team of Occupational Therapists

Tell us about your role and the impact it has on those work with

I work in the secure and forensic services in SPFT and my role is within the Occupational Therapy (OT). My job role is based around music and media and covers areas such as:

  • Teaching residents how to produce their own computer music using software
  • Recording their lyrics
  • Enabling residents to access instruments to either learn a new skill or maintain/refresh the skills they already possess
  • Creating radio shows for a local radio station
  • Recording spoken word books for the younger members of their family
  • Creating videos to go with the art they have produced.

This is done in both 1:1 sessions and groups and sessions tend to be an hour in length

Music is for everyone and is a great way to initiate a working relationship with a resident in a way that they can feel comfortable and creative, It lets them be in control of the process whilst always having someone on hand to help if needed.

When working in our music room many residents have commented on how it can help them forget where they are, helping them cope with the mental health issues they may be having at that moment. For some writing lyrics is an easier way for them to express their feelings to others about their lives and how mental illness has affected them.

Many residents start their first session by saying they are not musical but after a couple of sessions they realise that we all have this skill within us, we just need to remove this barrier and believe in ourselves, whilst not worrying what others think of what we create.

The music sessions help with their self-esteem, creativeness, working with others in group sessions, self-expression, confidence, fine motor skills, and all whilst learning or practicing an enjoyable pastime with an end product in mind.

What skills did you bring to the role?

Most of the training for computer music that I have done has been self-funded and in my own time. Creating computer/electronic music has been an 18-year hobby and pastime for me so any skills that I have learnt I enjoying sharing with others

The opportunity to help others with life skills and then music made the OT Tech role something that I knew I would enjoy and something that I wanted to be involved with.

What attracted you to a role as a support worker?

I worked as a nursing assistant for 5 years before moving to the OT team. In those 5 years I saw how occupational therapy assisted many residents to gain and maintain their mental health through routine and participation in activity. I felt that it was a valuable way to help others with their mental health. The opportunity to help others with life skills and then music made the OT Tech role something that I knew I would enjoy and something that I wanted to be involved with.

What are you most proud of in your role?

Creating an area within the hospital for others to be able to access to learn and maintain skills. Also helping to set up the Music Network within SPFT- our aim is to promote and increase access to music for all those within the Trust, whatever their interest or skillset. We hold monthly meetings to share experiences and plan for future events both in hospital and the outside community. We also help to link departments within our Trust to assist with care pathways on a musical level  

What would you say to encourage others into a role as a support worker with AHPs?

If you enjoy helping others to help themselves through meaningful activity then you will love working as a support worker. It’s also a role where you can be part of a team and your thoughts and advice are valued.

I worked with the print industry for 12 years and held a managerial role. Not one day goes by where I regret the decision of moving into the role I am in today