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Music and Mental Illness

Music is an integral part of who we are and what we do.

If you’re new here and know nothing else about us, you probably know that Punk Rock Saves Lives (PRSL) is--obviously-- structured around the punk rock community. But whether punk music is your jam or you identify with our mission and want to help us make a difference, we all have two things in common: we want to make an impact in our communities, and we love music!

So, how exactly does punk rock save lives? Music therapy has been proven to benefit mental health in many ways; even when not used in a structured therapeutic practice, music can aid your battle with mental illness. Wondering how? Keep reading!

Reduce Stress/Mental Illness Symptoms

We’ve all heard this before, but it’s true! Listening to music you love can in fact reduce stress and mental illness symptoms. Music has been used to soothe anxiety, ease depression, and combat stress for years in both clinical and casual settings.

Part of the science behind this? When you’re playing music that you enjoy, it triggers the pleasure sensors in your brain to produce and release dopamine. (This is also one of the reasons that music also plays such a key role in cinema and marketing; different kinds of music can inspire different emotions in its audience.) It’s not a figment of your imagination; you really do feel better when you listen to your favorite song!

Improve Memory

Music has been proven to be closely associated with memory. Whether it’s helping dementia patients retain precious memories or aiding a student studying for a big exam, many studies have shown that playing the right music can boost retention, recall specific emotional responses, and even unlock long-forgotten memories.

When thinking about other potential applications of this knowledge, it can be implied that music can also aid the battle against one of chronic (mental and physical) illness’s common foes: the much-dreaded brain fog. You can use music to help clear your mind a bit or even access specific information in your mind by playing the right music!

Songwriting: Another Way to Communicate

"Where words fail, music speaks."

While Hans Christian Anderson may have been writing a story about the moon, this paraphrased quote has gained traction for music lovers everywhere. When things get to be too much, and you're struggling to find the words to share what you're feeling, sometimes music can communicate everything you want/need to say and more.

We all love to listen to music that artists create, and we each have many favorites that we identify with. For many of those artists, this is how they share their own mental health struggles. But you don’t have to be a professional musician to craft that song in your heart! If you want to try your hand at composition, you can always write your own sheet music or use an app/software to create your masterpiece. And, of course, lyric writing is the perfect way to share your thoughts, fears, and emotions, whether you’re just trying to identify them yourself or whether you’re ready to communicate them with someone else.

Create Community & Connection

If you’ve ever attended a concert, then you know: one of the best things about music is the amazing community that surrounds it!

Music transcends age, culture, name it. No matter their personal differences, people from all backgrounds are able to unite in the love of music. It provides a way to connect with new people, even helping to conquer social anxiety for many.

One thing mental illness is really good at is making you feel isolated. When you’re in your element at a music event, you can find yourself feeling much less alone, and even create your own personal community of people who share a common bond.

At Punk Rock Saves Lives, this is what we strive to do. We are building our amazing community around our mission, rooted in the strong ethos of unity and compassion found in the music community as a whole.

Whether you’re joining us for our various support groups, as a volunteer, or as a friend and ally, we are so glad to have you. Welcome to PRSL!

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