Is Heavy Metal good for Mental health?
Heavy metal has long battled against a negative narrative that somehow listening to this music can transform people into destructive, aggressive, or even satanic monsters. Touted by conservative media who love to blame metal's sound, lyrics, and imagery (you mean awesome band Tees, right?) as a source of evil.
We, metalheads, know this is a load of bollocks - and now a new psychology study has the data to prove it.
According to Australian psychologists Paula Rowe and Bernard Guerin, there's strong evidence that metal is actually beneficial for the mental health of its fans, particularly young people.
In their latest study, "Contextualising the mental health of metal youth: A community for social protection, identity, and musical empowerment," published in the Journal of Community Psychology, the narrative that metal music leads to issues with its listeners is "flawed."
In the abstract, Rowe and Guerin say: "Metal identities are popularly represented as leading to mental health issues but with flawed evidence. We documented the community contexts around metal and well-being by talking to young metalheads directly. We engaged in repeated, informal talks with 28 young Australians who strongly identified with metal (aged 18–24 years, 5 females and 23 males), and found that the metal identities and community protected them from mental health problems."
The study found four factors that metal fans surveyed had in common: all were bullied or sidelined during mainstream education, felt metal gave them a sense of community, identified with metal music and lyrics when feeling isolated, and felt metal music "enabled them to keep bullies, detractors, and others at bay, and to find friend groups." The study concluded that, for their subjects at least, metal and assuming the identity of 'metal fan' detracted from the likelihood of potential mental health problems, with metal's strong sound " provide sanctuary for people who feel alienated by mainstream culture." Goes to show, whether you're on a high or doing it tough, metal will always be there for you. If you or someone you love is battling with mental health, don't hesitate to get in touch with the good folks at Lifeline.
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