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Music and Mental Health

April 5, 2021

Casco Bay High School

The Music and Mental Health website was created by Gridley Abercrombie, a student at Casco Bay High School in Portland. The Casco Bay curriculum is organized around Learning Expeditions which are long-term, in-depth studies of a single topic that explore vital guiding questions. They incorporate standards and involve fieldwork, service and research, culminating in a project, product or performance. Expeditions require strong habits of work and quality thinking that come through the daily rituals of reading, writing, research, problem solving, and discussion. Individual and group projects are designed to unify and ignite student learning by calling for concrete products or actions that address authentic problems, typically with a component of social or environmental justice.

Casco Bay High School principal Derek Pierce said that the expeditions encourage students to take on a project that is an intersection of their personal passion and a need in the world. They are an example of educators allowing students to pursue their interests to do something that will make a difference. He said that Gridley’s expedition is a great example of that.

When Gridley started the project he knew from his past musical experiences and learning over the years that the arts were good for the overall well being of individuals and for parts of the brain. His research helped him go deeper in his understanding of the science in the brain chemistry and the impact on the neurotransmitters. Music effects the mental health on the brain and body.

Along with learning the science Gridley learned how to create a website and he effectively uses it to include information that is useful for young people, parents and educators. Gridley researched the following topics in relationship to music and mental health: The Problem, Music’s Effect, Musical Opportunities, Who to Contact if You Need Help and Resources.

Some of the statistics that Gridley includes in the website are helpful to have a better understanding. For example, in 2017, “An estimated 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 13.3% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17.” The potential of music and its impact on mental health is enormous.

Especially during the last year we know that we have students who are facing challenges that didn’t exist earlier. I suggest that you check out the website Music and Mental Health and share with your own school community. Thank you Gridley for your research and sharing it with the world through the creation of the website.

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