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Can Music Participation Benefit A Person’s Well-being Regarding Mental Health Issues?

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Primary and secondary research has been collected to determine whether or not music participation can be used within student facilities to benefit their well-being. Alongside this, research has been collected to analyse if students with mental health have enough support during their studies and if educators have the knowledge and training to help with the progress of their educations.

Furthermore, integrating qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis has been used throughout this report to create mixed methods of methodologies to advance methodical integration of qualitative and quantitative data within this analysis. The basic premise of this methodology is so that such combination allows a more synergistic and wide-ranging utilisation of data than to solely collect data analysis from a single methodology (AHRQ, 2013).

The perception of ‘mental illnesses characterises an impression that lies at the heart of the network of expectations that legitimate the very concept of psychological therapy (McLeod, 2009. p.65) A methodical analysis of the concept of ‘mental illness’ can be found in the writings of the psychoanalyst Thomas Szasz (1961) who argues that, “To describe what he calls ‘problems in living’ as symptoms of an ‘illnesses involves the use of metaphor. It is as if the person were saying: ‘the pattern of behaviour and feeling that we call “depression” is like an illness, because it involves an incapacity to function in society, and a need for assistance from other people’” (McLeod, 2009. p.65).

This well-known quote from Szasz (1961) has somewhat given stimulus for carrying out this report. The phonological of ‘mental illnesses’ infiltrates North American and European culture, which is important for psychotherapists and counsellors to understand according to Szasz (McLeod, 2009 p.65). Therefore, this research report intends to understand if students and tutors from colleges and universities understand how much of the phonological of ‘mental illnesses’ and if the issues surrounding these areas are understood at a conceptual level, to give support to those who need it and if musical activities should be accessible in all educational services.


Data Collection

This research is going to take place through qualitative and quantitative research combined with secondary research to collect data throughout this paper. These methods are relevant for this research to gather research which can then be analysed to create a model.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research throughout this report has focused on examining each topic by means of interviews, questionnaires and field notes to gain insight into people’s thoughts and beliefs around the subject question. Throughout this case study multiple sources of data have been analysed, using counter arguments against each set of data to create evidence for the final model conclusion.

Questionnaires were sent off to educators, universities, music hubs, students and survey the general public to gather data for this study. As a result of the current Covid-19 situation, all interviewees were interviewed through live video calls which were recorded to use in the research findings. To guarantee the anonymity and confidentiality of the interviewees, pseudonyms were used throughout the interviews by completing consent forms prior to each interview to make sure their answers are fully protected.

The case study focuses on a problem or situation faced by a population and studies it from specific angles. For example, looking at mental health issues, focussing on when, where, or how it occurs. Next is Phenomenology, which involves describing a lived experience and learning from that experience to help people or organisations that may face that same experience. So basically, what this means is that the researcher is trying to understand what the experience is like for the subject (Smith,2013).

“Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object” (Smith,2013).

Quantitative Research

Research questionnaires were structured and distributed online using social media accounts, and emails to ask specific questions to gather numerical data quickly to analyse the findings.

Two types of primary data sources for in this research include:

  • Primary Data Collection: In this approach, data has been collected by the researcher. Participants have been recruited for the study, informed consent will be obtained to follow ethical guidelines and data has been taken electronically and in person. The data has been analysed using statistical techniques to assess the findings (BACP, 2019).
  • Secondary Data Analysis has also been used which involves the statistical analysis of data collected by other researchers or organisations (BACP, 2019).

The data has then been analysed and a model has been created from the findings.

Value of Research

This chapter will offer profound contributions into the field of research throughout this dissertation regarding topics such as background identity, mental health facts and statistics, government issues, music therapy, music education and music participation.

The main value of this research is to critically investigate all topics and demonstrate how the findings can be used to create a model into how music participation can benefit well-being and that more needs to be done to introduce musically activities for all pupils and students.

Influenced Research

As a researcher who is concerned about mental health issues and interested in behaviours and attitudes, this methodical study will cover many different areas using qualitative research, including why people think in a certain way and why do they behave in different ways (Dawson, 2009 p.4).

Additionally, by using quantitative research, data will be collected to analyse how music therapy and music participation can benefit students to help predict if this service can be used throughout educational services.

Throughout this research, a non-bias approach was carried out when gathering information and data in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, class, political or social factors when influencing the findings of the report. It has explored the socio-factors on the subject, which may contribute to the rise of mental health cases in young people over recent years. Findings from a report from the NHS Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, England, 2014, shows a significant rise over the years and epically in these difficult times during Covid-19 there has a been an even greater rise in recent cases. A study carried out from the APMS, (2015) report based on people aged from 16-64 displays how from 1993-2014 the increased rise of mental health cases. 3.3 Mental Health Facts and Statistics

Mental health is a wide-ranging topic, and to understand some of the figures and facts related to mental health, this can help put individual experiences into context. Therefore, when researching into mental health figures by Mind, (2017), it shows that approximately 1 in 4 people in the United Kingdom suffer from mental health. In England alone, 1 in 6 people have reported that they have experience a common mental health issue, such as depression and anxiety in any given week (Mind, 2017).

The statistics show that the overall number of people who suffer with mental health issues has not significantly changed in recent years, however; worries such as benefits, jobs and money can make it difficult for people to cope especially now during the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, an article from Help guide, (2019) explains the role social media plays in mental health. Multiple studies have found that there is a strong link between social media and mental health, with and increased risk of anxiety, self-harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and loneliness.

Social media can promote negative experiences such as:

  • Inadequacy about your life or appearance
  • Self-absorption
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Isolation

This demonstrates that more is to be done to promote good well-being, especially for the younger generation and students. When researching figures into how common certain problems regarding mental health are, a survey from Mind, (2017) shows that 5.9 in 100 people suffer from generalised anxiety, 4.4 in 100 from post-traumatic stress (PTSD), 3.3 in 100 suffer from depression, 2.4 in 100 from phobias, 7.8 in 100 who suffer from mixed depression and anxiety and 1.3 in 100 suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).The survey also measured the number of individuals who have had suicidal thoughts, self-harmed or have made suicidal attempts (see figure 5). 3.4 Is the Government Doing Enough?

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In an article written by Rosegil, (2015) from the guardian newspaper, she explains that an extra £1.25 billion was to be spent on mental health services over a 5-year period to help young people with mental health issues. However, the National Health Service spending has fallen by almost £50 million. This is more than 6% since 2010. Additionally, Young minds, (2018) argues that in England, council spending has been reduced in over half of their councils, with their budgets been frozen or cut for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Services have been affected widely across the country although Birmingham Council seen a worrying fall in cuts by 94%. (SOCIO ECONOMICS) this links in with socioeconomics which is discussed further on.

The article also discloses that funding for General Practitioner practices with a heavy student population are under threat and medical centres across universities have closed due funding they rely on from the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) is likely to be phased out.

Many services across university counselling facilities have also suffered and have not been able to grow to meet the rising demand of help that is needed. This is due to staff cuts and posts been frozen. Finally, the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) has started to be eroded and some changes have been postponed with many of the provisions it previously payed for are no longer covered. The DSA is a service which helped students in England meet their study costs arising from long-term physical and mental health conditions, learning difficulties and disabilities.

The equality act, (2010) states that a disability can arise from a wide range of impairments which can be: mental health conditions with symptoms such as anxiety, low mood, panic attacks, phobias or bipolar affective disorders. As well as, impairments with fluctuating or recurring effects such as rheumatoid arthritis, myalgic encephalitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, depression and epilepsy.

The researcher has had first-hand experience regarding the (DSA) provisions that are no longer covered. When applying for (DSA), numerous questions were asked, alongside evidence regarding health conditions, letters from GP’s and details regarding how these issues affect day to day life.

Evidence regarding all mental and physical health problems were provided, however, this was not sufficient, more in depth evidence was required explaining each type of issue and how this affected studies. This was something that caused stress and anxiety which resulted cancelling the DSA application as this was a long and stressful process. This is also backed-up from research gathered whilst interviewing RP who works within the educational sector as well as VC and NE who have both previously had difficulties when applying for DSA. (See- research results).

The recent cuts as mentioned above have played a detrimental effect on the application process for DSA and demonstrates the provisions that are no longer covered need to be reassessed. This is backed up from a study carried out from the National Union of Students who argue that in 2013 there were 215,370 disabled students in the United Kingdom, which represents over 8% of higher education students. Yet only 46% of disabled students receive DSA. This amount been even lower for postgraduate students, with only 27% receiving DSA (NUS, 2019).

A survey from NUS ‘The Pound In Your Pocket’ discloses the worrying high levels of financial struggles experienced by disabled students. This reveals that 59% of disabled students agreed that they worry at times about not been financially stable to meet basic living expenses compared to 47% of non-disabled students. NUS, (2018) also show that only 33% strongly agreed that they were able to concentrate on their studies without worrying about finical issues, compare to 45% on non-disabled students. This shows that cuts in the welfare state and education sector have heavily affected disabled students which can lead to an increase in disabled student’s debt and a decline in their satisfaction.

The data shows a massive 55% of disabled respondents have seriously considered quitting their course compared to 33% non-disabled students. Among those, 54% stated it was due to financial issues, 20% due to a disability and 36% because of a health problem. A report published by National Audit Office, (2017) explains that “students receiving an allowance are much more likely to continue their course than other students self-declaring a disability”.

Putting all this into context and linking this into socioeconomics further on, it is evident that cuts to the benefit system has greatly affected how a disabilities and mental health can have a great effect on a student’s progress and more research is needed to determine wheatear the government is doing enough in a society that is seeing a rise in cuts amongst the disadvantage. Views from RP, (2020) back up this argument. (research results)

What is Music Therapy and How Does it Work?

Music therapy is an evidence-based theory. The basis of music therapy is to help patients restore, improve and maintain health (Maratos, Gold, Wang & Crawford, 2008).

However, in 1988 Bruscia, (1998) suggests another alternative definition, stating “music therapy as systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health, using musical experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change” (Geretsegger, Elefant, Mössler & Gold, 2014).

Bruscias, (1998) explains that music therapy does not simply consist of music therapy therapeutically, that it is much more complex and should not be confused with music medicine. “Music interventions delivered by medical or healthcare professionals” (Bradt & Dileo, 2010). MORE HERE

The Benefits and Impacts of Music Therapy

Warren, (2016) argues that research shows that music therapy has various benefits for mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, trauma and grief (to name a few). “Music therapy and music acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief—but music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation” (Warren,2016).

Nevertheless, NHS (2011) claims that based on a trial which was based on people being treated for depression with standard methods of therapy, also took part in a trail that included given 20 one-hour music therapy sessions. After several months, a significant improvement in their symptoms were noticeable in patients that received music therapy to those who had not received the additional treatment. However, assessments made several months after the therapy finished presented that these differences were no longer statistically significant.

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are usually treated with psychiatric counselling and medication with previous studies finding that in addition music therapy is a promising treatment for depression. The trial demonstrated the possible benefits of music therapy. However, only 79 participants took part over a three-month period (NHS, 2011).

Therefore, this sums up the vital importance that the need of more research into larger, longer trials are needed for more accurate results to determine if music therapy can be beneficial long term.

The Impact of Music Therapy on Mental Health

An article wrote by the ‘National Alliance in Mental Health’ mentions that there are four major interventions involved in music therapy:

Creative Music Playing

Playing an instrument can support emotional socialisation, expression and several other benefits of an individual’s well-being regarding the likes of conflict, grief and communication issues (Warren, 2016). To give an example, a group can create a ‘storm when playing percussive instruments such as; drums, thunder tubes, gongs and rain sticks. From doing so, the group can identify the lows and highs of the storm in relation to their feelings. This then allows the group to have the opportunity to open up and discuss their feeling further.

Furthermore, several social and personal benefits can result from group improvisation. Students who have suffered from anxiety whilst making solo performances, found that making rhythmic embellishments of familiar tunes and playing in group improvisations, helped them to deal with their anxiety. Students who were keen improvisers also made expressive friendships with each other (Leavell, 1997). Montello, (1990) also argues that group improvisation can decrease performance stress and can help musicians raise issues relating to performance anxiety through experience in a familiar environment. This helps to reduce stress within creative activity and benefits in creating good community spirit (Montello, 1990).

A study carried out by the University of Montreal supports the arguments above, as science has shown that musical training can change brain structure, developing better brain functionality. In the study, they aimed to understand whether long-term musical training can enhance other multisensory processes to a group of non-musicians and musicians. The study found that musicians had a significant faster reaction times for, tactical, auditory and audio-tactile stimulations (Landry, François, Champoux, 2017 p.156-162).

These results suggest that musical training lowers auditory, physical and multisensory reaction times. “Taken together with the previous results from other sensory modalities, these results strongly point towards musicians being better at integrating the inputs from various senses” (Landry, François, Champoux, 2017 p.156-162).

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Can Music Participation Benefit A Person’s Well-being Regarding Mental Health Issues? (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Can Music Participation Benefit A Person’s Well-being Regarding Mental Health Issues?” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
Can Music Participation Benefit A Person’s Well-being Regarding Mental Health Issues? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Can Music Participation Benefit A Person’s Well-being Regarding Mental Health Issues? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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