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Helping Children Cope Through the Covid-19 With Music Therapy

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Written by Menushi Rajapakse.


Severity of the Covid19 outbreak has reached a global level with increasing effects on the mental health of individuals. The impression of this natural disaster on children cannot be overlooked. The sample analysis (Maclean, Popovici and French, 2016) on mental health indicate a positive relationship between experiencing natural disasters and the risk of children developing mental disorders into adulthood. It is necessary for public health authorities, educational institutions, and parents to take active measures towards preventing the negative mental impact on children.


The influence of Covid19 on the mental health of children can be categorized into four stages according to comparative analyses and considerations centered on inferential reasoning.


I. The Acute stage

II. The Subacute stage

III. The Post-traumatic stage

IV. The Effect stage

The acute stage involves social factors surrounding the child that creates awareness. Occurrences like social distancing, limited exposure to the community, closure of schools, and lockdowns have the capacity to induce adjustment issues and acute stress reactions. The sudden change adapting to the new normal may lead to paranoia, disruptive behavioral traits, and insomnia.

It has been insinuated the pandemic is likely to carry through to the next several years (Kissler, Glodstein and Lipsitch, 2020). The subacute stage plays out as the classroom setting, playground, camps, and other activities are replaced by distance learning. This may result in decreased concentration and inhibit a child’s motivation to achieve goals. Vital components of the curriculum which cannot be fulfilled through remote learning may pose adverse effects on the personal and cognitive growth of children. This may also impact the development of social skills, instill delusional ideas, and lead to prolonged anxiety.

The third stage can lead to more dire conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and pathological habituation. Significant determinants are the child’s resilience or vulnerability to stress, individual perceptions, cultural background, and environment changes. Susceptibility may lead to the development of withdrawal, depressive, protective or avoidant personality traits.

The final stage exemplifies the manner negative experiences with the pandemic may impact an individual even after several years, thus influencing their adult quality of life and mind.

The Beijing Normal University, the University of Munich and the Moscow State Pedagogical University have introduced educational measures to address psychopathological threats faced by children during the pandemic (Mastnak, 2020). The comprehensive educational model includes the spectrum of all subjects offered by schools, and among this it is noteworthy to mention an emphasis has been given to music therapy.

Medical evidence indicated the impact of music on the immune system. Music therapy can be incorporated as a vital tool to assist children in adapting to the new normal. A wide array of approaches can be incorporated to introduce society to Music therapy during the pandemic.

I. Outdoor music therapy

II. Online sessions – Individual & group (Via platforms such as Zoom, Teams & Skype)

III. Phone sessions

IV. Webinars to educate and create awareness

V. Launching Music therapy through Health Apps

A range of approaches assist in defeating obsessive‐compulsive structures and decreasing stress, predominantly in therapy involving expressive arts and analytic music therapy. Creative transformation of traumata, artistic expression and catharsis play a significant role and are contributory when traumata are particularly difficult to access. Music therapy also has the power to encourage and assist children who are socially shy or hostile because of its ability to improve feelings of empathy and readiness to communicate. In the standpoint of neuroscience, creative processes are interdependently linked to the brain's default mode network, therefore the artistic and neuro‐psychological value of music (Mastnak, 2020).

It can be stated that Music therapy is a substantial tool in enabling children to thrive among the negative effects brought forward by the global pandemic.


References


1. Mastnak, W. (2020). Psychopathological problems related to the COVID‐19 pandemic and possible prevention with music therapy. Acta Paediatrica.

2. Maclean, J.C., Popovici, I. and French, M.T. (2016). Are natural disasters in early childhood associated with mental health and substance use disorders as an adult? Social Science & Medicine, 151, pp.78–91.

3. Kissler SM, Tedijanto C, Goldstein E, Grad YH, Lipsitch M. Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS‐CoV‐2 through the postpandemic period. Science. 2020. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/early/2020/04/14/science