Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week: The Benefits of Music Therapy
Content by Sienna Holmes
For Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Children’s Music Fund (CMF) aims to tell the benefits of music therapy for child patients affected by mental illness.
Mental illness in children and adolescents adds an additional level of stress and difficulty at a key point of development. For many of these young patients, music and music therapy provide relief from their mental health conditions. Music therapy offers a calm and non-threatening medium for children and adolescents to explore their thoughts and feelings.
Music therapy also increases communication, socialization, memory in children. Because music therapy bridges the gap between art and science, and the artistic nature of the therapy allows children to open up and explore their feelings, music therapy helps children cope with their mental health issues. One CMF therapist states that “teens have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally, and lyrics can help them to find the right words to express and relate to their emotions”.
Most adolescents consider music to be an important part of their life. The lyrics resonate with them and help them validate their feelings. Music therapists use the importance of lyrics to help their patients. One patient uses Jennifer Lopez’ “Feel the Light” and Rihanna’s “Towards the Sun” to deal with anxiety and to empower himself. Another patient “wrote lyrics outlining her fears, goals and dreams…to use the music to process and validate her current feelings, and also create a future using tangible goals and a plan of action.” By writing a song, the patient was able to process her emotions, and take steps toward recovery.
While the long-term effects of music therapy on children and adolescents with mental illnesses still need to be further tested, the short-term results are promising. Patients are able to communicate through music, process their feelings, feel successful and in control, and take steps towards their recovery.
Music therapy is a promising field, and the success stories from children and teens are sure to pave the way for more successes in the future. Help show support and tell the benefits of music therapy by donating or volunteering via theCMF.org