THE LACK OF MENTAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS & GROWING ANXIETY PRESENTS A CONUNDRUM, BUT MUSIC COULD BE THE BALM.
After two long years of grueling isolation, fear, gaslighting, death, and uncertainty, the world is finally crawling out of the shadows. We may be wounded, but we are alive. Though we stand hesitant, we are smarter. We’ve learned basic civility can save lives. We’ve survived. Some got sick, and some died, and a growing number have some form of anxiety or depression. I would wager there is not a single person that will look back on the past two years without a slight shudder. The uncertainty of our future, the basic truth, or even the mere mention of quarantine, is enough to tighten anyone’s chest, put a stutter in their step, or cause hesitation. There is no denying it; America is depressed and anxious.
The Anxious Cry Sweeping the Nation
According to health.com Post-Pandemic Anxiety is real, but there is hope. In isolation we craved human contact, and now public venues, restaurants, and gatherings are returning. Most people might feel in trepidation, and it’s normal. For two years we’ve been warned gatherings are dangerous, public groups a hazard, and home is the only haven. It took time to program the anxiety, and it will take time to deprogram it.
Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, stated, “We are seeing alarming numbers of children reporting thoughts of suicide and self-harm. The 2021 State of Mental Health in America report confirms the trend that mental health in the U.S. continues to get worse, and many states are ill-prepared to handle this crisis and policymakers at every level of government need to act immediately.” (https://www.mhanational.org/research-reports/2021-state-mental-health-america)
Music Therapy: Help at Your Fingertips
While the national infrastructure for help is lacking, help is older and closer than most people realize. Music instruments date back 40,000 years. Music is almost as old and diverse as biology; well maybe not quite as old, but music is definitely as diverse. Furthermore, music therapy, which encourages positive change and mood, dates back to ancient Greece. What is music therapy? Music therapy is listening, making, or meditating with music, and how it affects your brain and thus health. While finding a therapist in America’s scanty market is always important and should never be put off, until you locate one try music. Gem tracks, an international music industry marketplace, created a playlist aimed toward educating the public. They said, “These songs will help you to understand anxiety, depression, and different mental health issues.” (https://www.gemtracks.com/guides/view.php?title=top-songs-about-mental-health&id=758).
The Sounds of Healing
For Mental awareness month, the Auburn Examiner, an award-winning Washington independent news outlet focused on educating, raising awareness, compiled a few playlists to help soothe the anxious beast awakened in the public found at, https://auburnexaminer.com/music-for-mental-health-awareness/. These songs feature more modern artists, such as: Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Sarah Bareilles, and Shawn Mendes. However, therapy studies measuring physiological and emotional responses have shown, some music is more effective in encouraging relaxation (https://theconversation.com/anxiety-a-playlist-to-calm-the-mind-from-a-music-therapist-121655). Their research shows, slow, simple harmony and beats with no surprises such as classical, soft pop and some ethnic world music have been found most effective. Are you feeling restless, tense, or worried? Then sit down and try one of these songs recommended by music therapist:
- Ambient 1: Music For Airports by Brian Eno
- Pieds-en-L’Air, from Capriol Suite, by Peter Warlock
- Om Namah Shivaya by Deva Premal
- Someone Like You by Adele
- I Giorni, by Ludovico Einaudi
- In Paradisum, by Gabriel Fauré
- Stopover at Djibouti by Anouar Ibrahem
- Wilma’s Theme by Stefan Nilsson
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed. It soothes the mind and gives it rest. It heals the heart and makes it whole. It flows from heaven to the soul.”K.C. Lynn
When panic and uncertainty poison the air, when nerves are frayed, and you no longer care—DO NOT SUCCUMB! Tell that depression, the gnawing anxiety, or whatever ails—take a hike! Turn the tunes up, close your eyes, pull the covers over your head if you must, and just breathe.
America we will be alright!