Mental health conditions have been more common among the young population. Among youths aged 6 to 16 in England, one in six had mental health issues in 2021, up from one in nine in 2017. The statistics shown are especially concerning for girls aged between 17 and 19, as one in four had a probable mental health condition in 2021 (1).
Current youths are at risk of being left behind because of soaring waiting times for health services and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on their mental health. The number of young people in emergency departments, primarily for an eating disorder, increased from 107 in October 2019 to 214 in October 2021 (2).
“In many ways, the wider effects of the pandemic and nationwide lockdowns on children and young people have been greater than the Covid-19 infection itself. Despite being much less at risk of hospital admission from the virus, the youngest members of our society have not escaped unscathed, and we can see a heavy toll on their mental well-being and access to health services” - Jessica Morris, a researcher at the Nuffield Trust (3)
Fortunately, we have seen a great significance put on mental health, breaking the negative stigma surrounding conditions such as depression and anxiety. And as research has shown, one of the best tools to help with mental health concerns is music!
Reduce your child’s anxiety: Stress can easily pile up into anxiety, creating a cycle that is hard to break. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety and stress can negatively impact our health, leading to heart conditions, stomach ulcers and so much more (4). Music Requires all of your attention and focus, allowing you to enter a state of mindfulness, setting aside the stress from the day to apply yourself to the task at hand. It is a hobby that can quickly turn into an escape from any negativity.
Finding an outlet: Expressing is essential for those with a mental health condition. This can look different for every child, and they just need to find the best fit for themselves. This could include working out, starting a garden, or, yes, even learning an instrument. Music is unique, as there are so many different genres and many tools to explore (5).
Music also serves to process emotions, trauma, and grief. There are four significant interventions involved with music therapy (6):
While typical conversational therapy allows a person to discuss complex topics, lyric analysis is a sensitive approach to processing emotions, thoughts and experiences. Learners will be encouraged to offer insight and tangible tools or themes from lyrics that they can relate to and learn from - each of us has that one song we deeply connect to. You can also engage with your child more by discovering more music and learning about them!
Playing instruments encourages emotional expression and socialisation. Every song has different meanings, rhythms and compositions - learners' emotions are automatically expressed through how they play, and interpret the song and more. Music is a very collaborative subject, even in a private lesson. Both students and teachers need clear communication to fully understand, which naturally helps with the student's social skills.
Music can regulate mood, as its rhythm and repetition engage our brain's neocortex, which calms us down. In addition, some individuals use music to match or alter motions. There are benefits to matching music to our mood, but it can also keep us stuck in a depressive or anxious state. To change mood states, learners can discover a variety of songs to learn and absorb their positivity and energy.
Songwriting allows learners to express themselves creatively. They can create lyrics that reflect their experiences and select instruments and sounds to reflect the emotion of the lyrics. The process can be very validating for their thoughts. Having parents and others listen to their creations will also be rewarding and provide a positive experience.
Emotions amongst youths can be complicated as some may need to learn how to express their thoughts effectively. Music is one of the best ways to bring out their inner thoughts, positive or negative. Not only will children get to enhance their creativity and academic abilities, but music also helps with mental health and allows parents to understand them on a deeper level and see a different side of them as well.
At SYNKii, we aim to create an online academy where children can hone their passion and have fun with their learning experiences. Our teachers are highly qualified with musical abilities and communication with young learners! To learn more, click the button below.
Co-founder of SYNKii.
Also a bass/composition teacher.