An Investigation of the Experiences of Students with Mental Health Disorders in Secondary Music Ensembles
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of current teaching practices in middle school and high school music ensembles to support students with mental health disorders. Participants (N=168) ranged in age from 18-64 and were symptomatic of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder while enrolled in a music ensemble classroom for at least one year during their secondary education. Participants completed a survey that included questions regarding their experiences dealing with mental health in an ensemble classroom, coping with feelings of suicide, and the type of support they received from their ensemble director. Results indicated a 48.2% rate of suicidal thoughts among participants. The most meaningful types of support from ensemble directors included creating a welcoming classroom atmosphere without excessive competition and treating students with compassion. Data from this study can provide music ensemble directors with valuable tools for addressing their student's mental health issues.