Best Practice

Music and mental health: A powerful way to destress?

Schools are on the front-line of the mental health crisis facing our young people. Across three articles, Dr Stephanie Thornton looks at what the research evidence says about the power of music, art and sport to support teenagers...

Has there ever been a time when the mental health of our young has caused greater concern?

Things were bad enough before the world went crazy, with around 10% of teenagers identified as having probable mental health problems.

This figure rose rapidly to 17% for the under-16s and worse still for 17 to 18-year-olds in the early days of the pandemic (ONS, 2020). Reports of depression and anxiety and increasing referrals to CAMHS have continued through the pandemic, and doubtless the war in Ukraine and the current economic crisis will have exacerbated problems (Ford et al, 2021; Commission on Young Lives, 2022).

The solution to this is far from clear. CAMHS is overwhelmed, with long waiting lists and referrals being refused even for some who are suicidal (Commission on Young Lives, 2022). Does this mean that we are failing many thousands of the young?

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