Recently, during a Genote initiative, I worked with struggling adolescents who are trying to develop skills to cope with gravely serious challenges. I wanted to create a team that could work together and share meaningful insights about themselves and their surroundings. I wanted them to share beauty and be persuaded to be real actors in their personal path to happiness.
Mental issues, emotional challenges and interpersonal relationships seem to be ever-increasing for the adult community and young generations. Approximately 1 out of 5 adolescents aged 13–18 (21.4%) experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. (1) More drastically, in 2015, statistics on adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 indicate a suicide rate of 12.5%. (2)
When the activities began, the group was rather small with new participants every week and with an inconsistent number of students. Some of them were excited to be there, and others were really tired and stressed out. One day, after some light conversation, we began the activity by trying to dig a bit deeper and getting to know them better. We asked them to share something about themselves, possibly something they had never shared before.
Some of them shared a few personal details, some spoke rather mindlessly, but, generally, we all felt that no one had decided to bring the conversation to a deeper level. While working with adolescents we try to maintain a consistent focus, help them recognize the superfluous in conversations and help them become more open to healthier relationships.
One day, we asked them to lay down and listen to the music we had prepared. Three compositions, with three different and carefully chosen emotional connotations and complexities. After 20 minutes of listening, we resumed the conversation by asking them to describe their experience, feelings and thoughts. This is when something special happened!
The general behavior changed, and the level of each student’s willingness to share their personal feelings and story increased considerably. The level of comfort created during the session, allowed them to listen to each other, find helpful insights and build meaningful memories. The quality of personal interchange increased; over the following months, the Genote Sundown sessions helped them discern trustworthy relationships and determine important building blocks for their character and for the future.
We studied music for a long time; over the last 30 years, music's applications in clinical settings have increased significantly, and we are amazed by music’s capacity not only to influence our emotions and biological parameters, but to push us to be better people and help us build great memories as a way to nurture great qualities within ourselves. We are continuously recording each new session and continue to update Genote Health Music. We see great potential. We see hope and growth, and that is what we work for.
Any Disorder Among Children. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2015.
NAMI - National Alliace on Mental Illness http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers#sthash.FgWBgscB.dpuf