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My Service-Learning Project

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My Service-Learning Project addresses the issue of the mental health crisis that high schoolers and college students cope with. Specifically, depression, anxiety, and suicide. Those that experience these issues are all around us and we don’t even know. This issue has a very personal effect on me for I, at a point in time, suffered from depression. I pushed everything I loved away, and I would spend most time alone. While completing this project, I realize that I am not alone. Many other people go through what I went through and, in some cases, end in ways that are unimaginable. Not only are teen depression/anxiety/suicide rates shocking, but they are on the rise. The research I conducted amazed me and made me realize that this issue needs much more attention than it’s getting. More than 20% of teens are depressed and 70% are being untreated.

For my Service-Learning Plan, I focused in on music therapy and its contributions. Music helped me get through my struggles and I believe that it can help my community and other communities as well. However, if I could do this project again, I would help music therapy address not only mental health issues, but those with disabilities and those who experienced trauma. This project helped me realize that anyone can help their community if they put their mind to something. I realized that I could have an impact on those that need help.


A teen takes their own life every 100 minutes. For every person who has died from suicide, 20 more people will have attempted to kill themselves. What can we do to change this? Music therapy is needed in order to help those with mental health issues (i.e. depression and anxiety) as it could help address the mental health crisis that high schoolers and college students cope with. For my action plan, I’d like to implement music therapy into school guidance systems. This plan is incredibly important since suicide amount teens has nearly tripled since the 1940’s. Students in school constantly face social, academic, and spiritual pressures. Studies have shown that 50% of mental health diagnosis’s have started before the ages of 15. Music therapy can not only change those unhealthy, but also future generations.

Problems and Causes

The topic I selected is the impact of mental health issues, specifically depression and anxiety, on high schoolers and college students. Around 20% of teens (1 in 5) will experience depression before they reach adulthood. Of that 20%, as many as 70% are left untreated. Additionally, “more than 2 million report experiencing depression that impairs their daily function.” According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6.3 million people from the ages 12-17 have an anxiety disorder. Depression and anxiety can lead to teen suicide, substance abuse, and even school shooters.

Suicide is, in many ways, the most alarming of these three outcomes. For ages 10-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death (road accidents being first). Students in grades 9-12, stage approximately 3,040 suicide attempts every day. According to The Parent Resource Program, “more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined. How can we stand by and watch our friends and family suffer from debilitating diseases? We must find a way to not only decrease the number of teens and young adults committing suicide, but we must also find a way to help with depression and anxiety as well.

Educating Others

How can we overcome youth depression, anxiety, and, ultimately, suicide? Music therapy is needed in school guidance systems to help students overcome periods of sadness and anxiety. With the help of music therapy, results for helping those with mental health issues are promising. According to the AMTA, music therapy can help patients in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Make positive changes in mood and emotional stress
  • Improve concentration and attention span
  • Interact Socially with others
  • Supports healthy feelings and thoughts
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Increase self-esteem
  • increase motivation”

Not only do these effects from music therapy deliberately address depression and anxiety, they will help eliminate the problem once and for all.

The rest of the world must know about the severity of mental health issues. In doing so, assemblies must be held in order to speak on the issue. People must know how important teen depression is. When a teen is depressed, they tend to not care for the activities they used to, push loved ones away, and not perform well in school. When people know and understand the symptoms of those who are depressed, it can help them seek proper treatment. With no help and them going unrecognized, it can lead them to harming themselves or even killing themselves. The mental health crisis that high schoolers and college students cope with must come to a stop.

When people recognize that mental health is a serious issue, it can help alleviate the problem. With students informed of the risk of those depressed, it will help benefit a fundraiser towards a music therapist. A successful fundraiser is crucial to this action plan for it help the school afford a therapist.

Project Phases

  1. Step 1: We must inform others why it is so important to help those with the mental health issues that high schoolers and college students cope with. Assemblies will be held in order to share facts and information on the issue and how music therapy can help.
  2. Step 2: In order to hire music therapists, we need money. For step 2 of the plan, we will have a fundraiser and have all the benefits go towards hiring 2-3 (depending on money raised) music therapists.
  3. Step 3: Contact the AMTA (American Music Therapy Association) and find several therapists to hire through the school guidance program and help those copes with depression, anxiety, or any other needs.
  4. Step 4: Through the guidance program at Dulaney High School, have several music therapists to help others with their needs. Students may visit before school, after school, or during school (with a pass). Flyers will be in the school hallways in order to promote visiting the music therapists. 
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