By Stacia Ruby
Public Affairs Officer
Chillicothe VA Medical Center


CHILLICOTHE – This year has brought many challenges, with likely the largest one being the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, most people were asked to stay home, and practice social distancing.

One of the greatest challenges with social distancing is the isolation and boredom, which for some of us can trigger other challenges, such as depression and anxiety. Veterans often struggle with these mental health symptoms, along with chronic pain, hypertension and other physical conditions.

In order to address the needs of our veterans who might be stuck at home for the long haul during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chillicothe VA Medical Center developed a partnership with the veteran-led drumming organization called Warrior Beats to bring the healing power of drumming to veterans. Since we cannot bring the Veterans to the drum circle, we will bring the drum circle to the veterans.

The Chillicothe VA Virtual Drum Circle is an opportunity to bring at least some of the benefits of drumming to veterans in the comfort and privacy of their homes, while still observing social distancing precautions.

The therapeutic advantages of drumming are evidence based and cover almost all domains of life. Drumming has been shown to improve anxiety and stress through mindfulness. Drumming also helps with struggles in impulse control, regularization of responses, altering the way the brain processes information, boosts the immune system, decreases levels of chronic pain and more than all of that, is fun.

There are social benefits to drumming as well. People who participate in drumming report a better sense of community, have enjoyed learning about the origin and cultures from which drumming originates, helps increase socialization and even fosters teamwork.

Veterans can register for the Virtual Drum Circle on the Warrior Beats website https://warriorbeat.org/chilicothe-va-streaming-drum-program-signup/.

Once the registration is received by the Chillicothe VA, a staff member will contact the Veteran and make arrangements to have a small hand drum delivered to their home free of charge. Once registered, Veterans will receive an email directly from Warrior Beats prior to each drum circle. To join the session, veterans merely click on the link provided, enter the Zoom Meeting chat room, grab their drum and start playing.

For more information, call 740-773-1141, extension 6075. To enroll for VA healthcare, visit chillicothe.va.gov/enrollment.asp or call 740-772-7170 with questions.