SCURRY, Texas — New York City based indie artist, Daphne Willis, spent the day with patients, staff and guests of the Treehouse Recovery center in Scurry on Friday talking about how music helped her battle addiction and mental health issues.
Willis, an artist living in recovery, uses her songwriting and musical talents to raise awareness about the dangers of addiction and shed light on mental illness throughout the country.
“It took a long time for me to be able to talk about it openly. The more I talk to people, especially being an artist, the more I push myself to talk about it publicly as well,” said Willis. “People started reaching out to me and wanting to talk to me about their stories.”
The Treehouse is a co-ed residential treatment facility located in Scurry for the past four years. With 160 beds on campus, The Treehouse is the largest privately owned, voluntary treatment facility open to the public in the state.
The sprawling 40-acre campus offers each client a unique recovery plan that includes private and group therapy, yoga & meditation, art classes, cooking classes, wilderness expeditions, equestrian therapy and horseback riding, ziplining and a variety of other activities that help to restore their path to sober living. Staff at the facility use a number of different techniques to treat addiction and any underlying issues with every patient. Currently the center treats over 1,000 clients annually.
The Treehouse attracts clients from across the country and around the world, and they say that this diversity is the magic to their music therapy program.
“We have artists and musicians from all walks of life, music is for everyone. From famous musicians, to independent singers and songwriters to clients who rap in Hebrew, the music brings people together,” says Rodney Harrison, the Music Program Coordinator at the Treehouse and a 2011 graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 2016, Harrison was introduced to The Treehouse where he now helps people living with an addiction get on a path to recovery. Harrison works side-by-side with clients during and after their stay at The Treehouse. The program he developed began with only 6 clients and has grown to more than 40 clients participating twice a week.
"Music is universal, people from all walks of life can use it as a way to not only express how they feel but cope with a lot of those feelings they encounter throughout their lives and that makes it one of the most powerful tools they can possess" says Harrison.
Willis, who has been sober for three years now, caught the eyes and ears of Sony/ATV Music Publishing in early 2016 who quickly signed her to a worldwide publishing agreement. This partnership has resulted in several of her songs being recorded by other artists and used in Commercial, Film and TV productions such as nationwide Ad Campaigns for Clinique, Microsoft, and Xfinity, Royal Caribbean, as well as on One Tree Hill, The Good Doctor and Empire, & Grey's Anatomy to name a few.
“It is extremely rewarding to share my story of struggle and hope with others who are on this journey,” Willis tells inForney.com. “It sounds cliché, but I want these people to realize that it gets better. It is a lifelong journey; but it will get easier.”
Willis says that music was instrumental in her own recovery and believes it can be powerful for others as well.
“Anytime you’re doing something creative and utilizing both sides of the brain you’re improving yourself. Music allows us to move through the dark, and see the light,” Willis said.
The Treehouse is the second stop on the tour that included performances in Sherrodsville, Ohio, Cummington, Massachusetts and Southaven, Mississippi. In conjunction with the tour, Willis is releasing her new single and launching a special “I Am Enough” campaign centering around mental health and addiction.
For more information on the Treehouse visit treehouserehab.org or call 1-888-614-2251.