#MillionsLikeMe Music for Mental Health

By Lisa Smusz, MS, LPCC

If you’ve ever turned up your favorite song to banish a bad mood[1], or turned on something relaxing after a long hard day, you already know how music affects your mood and mental health. Studies prove what you know intuitively: music can alleviate feelings of depression, reduce anxiety[2], and even improve mental functioning.[3]

my song mattersEach Mind Matters knows music can be a great tool for mental health and for creating social change, especially among young adults.[4] So to celebrate Mental Health Matters Month in May, we’re highlighting and sharing some musical works about mental health from young adult artists across the state.

#MillionsLikeMe Music for Mental Health is a compilation of original music created by young adults who are participating in music programs run by non-profit youth organizations all across California.

The goal of the album is to get young adults listening to the album thinking and talking about the issue of mental health, to showcase some of the work done by talented youth in California, and to support organizations who are using music to promote mental health among young adults in their communities.

Want to hear what the young artists have to say and learn more about the organizations using music for mental health? You can download the album free of charge! Just follow the Each Mind Matters Facebook and Twitter pages for a link to get your copy when it’s released later this month.

Feeling inspired? Each Mind Matters is also sponsoring the My Song Matters contest. Young adult residents of California (age 18-24) are invited to submit their positive, inspiring lyrics about mental health shared during the month of May.

The winner will receive: the opportunity to have their song professionally produced, released, and promoted online; a day in Los Angeles to meet with a team of entertainment professionals; and $500. Ten runners up will each receive $100 and the opportunity to interact with entertainment professionals, ask questions about the business and get input on their songs. Submissions must be made by 11:59 p.m., May 22, 2015. To enter or for more information, go to www.mysongmatters.com.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22176481

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20013543

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9450304

[4] Tarrant M, North AC, Hargreaves DJ. English and American adolescents’ reasons for listening to music. Psychology of Music 2000; 28: 166-173.

Lisa SmuszLisa Smusz is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with more than 15 years of experience operating large-scale mental health projects and has internationally published works on stigma reduction, and interventions for at-risk youth. Ms. Smusz currently heads her own consulting company and is an instructor at California State University, East Bay.