Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
It is common for people to experience stigma related to their mental health issues. Research suggests that a supportive community can decrease this experience of stigma. Music therapy and performance have been shown to be effective in supporting people in expressing their stories and connecting, but there is little research into methods for building community through music therapy performance. This community engagement project uses the constant comparison method to analyze the impact of a public concert on the topic of mental health, designed to increase understanding and connection around mental health issues. The concert was performed at two different venues, six months apart. After each concert, the researcher collected responses to the concert via self-reflection, informal interviews, and arts-based research. Data was organized into four categories: self-stigma, perceived stigma, connectedness, and contentment. Results showed that experiences of self-stigma and perceived stigma decreased over the duration of the concert, while experiences of connectedness and contentment increased. Findings suggest that community music therapy and performance are effective tools in combating stigma against mental health, but more comprehensive research is indicated.
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Woofenden, Nora, "Decreasing Mental Health Stigma One Song at a Time: Using Community Music Therapy to Increase Social Connectedness and Decrease Self-stigma and Perceived Stigma" (2020). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 295.
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