Nonprofit CreatiVets helps veterans struggling with depression and PTSD through the power of music

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Saturday, June 22, 2024
Local veterans team up with songwriters to help heal
This nonprofit utilizes music and other forms of the arts to help unleash a wave of healing for veterans struggling with depression and PTSD.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Music can soothe the soul and lift spirits. One organization that helps veterans struggling with depression and PTSD is using the power of music to make a difference.

Daniel Hebert and a room full of fellow veterans gather round to listen to a song he wrote - all meant to help with healing.

"I went out to Nashville, wrote a song for my kids called 'Unbroken' and it really helped me close this gap I had with my kids," said Hebert. "I couldn't say 'hey I have PTSD and depression and I'm struggling,' but the song says it to them in a way where they get it."

Hebert served in the Army after 9/11, came home with an injury, and had trouble finding balance. Then, with the help of the nonprofit CreatiVets, he was able to write his song.

"It really put me on a path of like, alright I'm gonna heal now. It was a narrative therapy. Worked better than any group therapy or any individual therapy I've ever done," said Hebert.

CreatiVets founder Richard Casper knows exactly how it feels. He says music saved his life.

"In 2006 and 2007 when I went to war as a Marine, my Humvee was blown up four separate times, which left me with traumatic brain injury and the loss of my friends," said Casper.

When he came home, Casper ended up in an arts program. It unlocked a wave of healing, from painting to a written song: "I could always hide some of my biggest traumas in a song that you would never really realize but I feel like I got it outside of myself."

Now, he's expanding CreatiVets from Nashville to L.A. with the help of partners and real-life songwriters like Cameron Bedell.

"Get to see and hear what they went through or what they're going through currently and then I get to take that and then help them turn it into words and music," said Bedell.

Katie Mackenzie represents The Music Man Foundation.

"The Music Man Foundation runs different grant programs and we met CreatiVets and were so blown away by their dedication and sincerity around using music as a tool for the health and well-being for the veteran population," said Mackenzie.