Event Title

“Songs of the Siren”: Mental Health in the Black Community

Faculty Mentor

Mark Lewis, D.M.A., and Tomoko Deguchi, Ph.D.

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Department of Music

Location

Barnes Recital Hall

Start Date

20-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

My musical composition, “Songs of the Siren,” depicts how mental illness affected my life as a young adult. Mental health is a taboo subject when it comes to the black community in America. Any flaws in the brain are seen as negatives or weaknesses, which contribute to the silence in our community. The legacy of slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination helps contribute to the economic and mental disparities of the black community. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, members of the community who live under the poverty line are three times more likely to develop a mental illness. African Americans tend to turn to religion or family when it comes to mental health issues, without considering the help of physicians or therapists due to mistrust and fear. In 2008, Alvidrez et al. conducted a study that showed over a third of African Americans who were being treated for mental health issues thought they would be considered “crazy” within their social circles for anxiety or mild depression. Education and awareness will help the healing process begin, as more members come forward with their stories and suggestions for help. In my composition, each movement depicts the constant struggle between mind and body, with the underlying disease controlling the overall narrative. With this piece, I hope to inspire others to tell their stories and become champions and leaders of a healthier community.

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Apr 20th, 1:00 PM

“Songs of the Siren”: Mental Health in the Black Community

Barnes Recital Hall

My musical composition, “Songs of the Siren,” depicts how mental illness affected my life as a young adult. Mental health is a taboo subject when it comes to the black community in America. Any flaws in the brain are seen as negatives or weaknesses, which contribute to the silence in our community. The legacy of slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination helps contribute to the economic and mental disparities of the black community. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, members of the community who live under the poverty line are three times more likely to develop a mental illness. African Americans tend to turn to religion or family when it comes to mental health issues, without considering the help of physicians or therapists due to mistrust and fear. In 2008, Alvidrez et al. conducted a study that showed over a third of African Americans who were being treated for mental health issues thought they would be considered “crazy” within their social circles for anxiety or mild depression. Education and awareness will help the healing process begin, as more members come forward with their stories and suggestions for help. In my composition, each movement depicts the constant struggle between mind and body, with the underlying disease controlling the overall narrative. With this piece, I hope to inspire others to tell their stories and become champions and leaders of a healthier community.