Contemporary, Covid-19

MUSIC THERAPY: A HEALER FOR DEPRESSION AND A MEANS TO IMPROVE SOCIAL HEALTH DURING LOCKDOWN

With the increasing phobia of Covid-19 and its impact on society, music has become the only respite and the most effective means to maintain a better mental and social health. Before this pandemic crisis, most of us had been addicted to listening music in order to relive ourselves from the work stress and be engrossed into a world of fantasy, serenity and ‘other worldly’ aspects. Music actually helps to relive most of us from stress and depression by taking us to an imaginatory world (hyper reality) where we are able to fulfil our unfulfilled expectations and desires of practical life. In terms of survival too, managing one’s emotions and social relationship is the major challenge that human race is facing. An icing on the cake is the lockdown which is producing negative impact on the social health of youngsters. The most vulnerable group of such depression happens to be the youngsters who are facing different forms of mental distress to an unprecedented extent.

Though society is gradually stepping into ‘new normal’ with changes steeping in ones everyday life, yet depression continues to haunt most of us, especially youngsters. This pandemic crisis and lockdown has tormented such a socio-psychological disorder among youngsters. With the significant rise in deaths caused by suicide, depression has been reported to be the major cause (as reported by World Health Organization). Furthermore, India is also reported to be the most depressed country in the world. One of the most effective ways to reduce such depression can be Music therapy.

Music therapy involves, “the professional use of music and its elements as an intervention in medical, educational, and everyday environment with individuals, groups, families, or communities, who seek to optimise their quality of life and improve their physical, social, communicative, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health and well-being”(Aalbars & Spreen, 2017). Music therapy which has a strong affinity with our emotions and mood also helps to improve one’s social health. As sociologist, social health is the appropriate term to understand this socio-psychological disorder of depression. The concept of ‘social health’ help to understand not only the social aspects of mental health, but also helps to remind that both emotional and mental health of individuals depend upon the social support received from their closed kins (family members and close friends), on the communities that are more or less favourable and congenial, and also on the hegemonic social norms and situations that are socially defined/ constructed and contextualized (Weare, 2002). One can say that there has been a paradigm shift from mental and emotional health to social health of individuals.

Forms of music to listen during lockdown:

Since music serves as the healing ointment during any stressful situation during this pandemic crisis, choosing the right music or track is also important for all of us:
a. Individuals can listen to soft melodious music (which is devoid of any melancholy!)
b. Youngsters can listen to jazz or rock band for a stipulated time, exceeding which can either hamper their physical or mental health.
c. Any kind of sad songs should be ostracized from the list since such songs ameliorate the grievance or depression the listener is suffering from. However, listening to ghazals or classical music for a stipulated time period can be a good choice!
d. Soft music can be a good choice while watching any virtual tour (since physical tour has almost turned into an utopia!) which helps to relax and relieve any form of stress or anxiety caused by the present situation.
e. Rabindra Sangeet can also be a good respite from the mundane daily household chores of individual spouses.
f. Last but not the least, the listener may try his/her best to not allow any kind of negative thoughts to haunt his/her mind which can be detrimental for physical and mental well-being.

How music therapy helps?

Music therapy is a holistic therapy which produces positive impact on both mind and the body due to which it is also known as Mind-Body therapy. There are certain benefits of music therapy which are noteworthy, especially for youngsters suffering from depression:

1. Music therapy provides capacity for evocation and relaxation. It is a means of recreation and leisure for most youngsters, especially adolescents.
2. It helps to relieve an individual from any form of depression and reduces anxiety and pain perception by healing through muscle relaxation.
3. Through counselling by music therapist, it helps to build self-esteem and boost confidence.
4. It is also one of the effective means along with Yoga, to contain and control aggression or violence or anger.
5. It is also a form of psycho-social development which reduces seclusion and helps to heal an individual from within.
6. Finally, it is also one of the most effective means of communication and socialization/ re-socialization of individuals (Torres, 2014).
Though depression is a major socio-psychological illness which many a times requires medical intervention and social support from the family members, close kins, friends and the communities that the victim can rely upon, yet music therapy can also turn out to be one of the best means to battle such illness with finesse! The victim who is under continuous depression due to his/her problems in intimate relationship or career can also recover through the means of Music Healing.
Most of the times, victimhood is associated with stigma, helplessness, docility, and silence which can give rise to suicidal tendencies among youngsters. Such victimhood due to depression can be recovered through the means of Music Healing. Though it might not as fruitful as Yoga or Meditation, yet it helps to build the victim’s self-esteem by invoking creativity which ‘is an act of defiance in the face of helplessness, stigma and destruction.’ By creativity it meant that the survivor has been able to open up about his/her problems either to music therapist or a counsellor and even to his/her family and close peers. Those who are able to battle through the depression through such therapy are the real warriors of society for being able to maintain their social health. This means that these survivors are being able to finally arrive at new understandings of the events happening around creatively with a positive mindset (Sutton, 2002).
Moreover, as it can be concluded that music heals the wounds caused by internal injuries and helps to improve social health since maintaining a proper health also depends on social factors and social norms and situations which encompass the individuals in society.

References:
Sonja, Aalbers & Spreen, Marinus, Music therapy for depression, Research gate, 2017, Pg 6

Sutton, Julie, Music, Music Therapy and Trauma: International Perspectives, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2002, Pg 76

Torres,A. Segundo, Music Therapy in the Prevention and Treatment of Depression in Older Adults in lima-Peru, Oncothermia Journal, June 2014

Weare, Katherine, Promoting Mental, Emotional and Social Health: A Whole School Approach, Routledge Publishers, 2002, Pg 12

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