Music for Mental Health: Breaking the Silence through Song

A personal campaign sponsored by Madhumita Parmar

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Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you all so much for your overwhelming support and love over the past few months as I shared my music with you. I feel so blessed to have such incredible people in my life who have not only taught and set wonderful examples for me, but have also provided me with amazing opportunities, such as this music album, to continue to grow my passion.

This project started as a goal for me to devote wholehearted time to learning, practicing, and advancing in Hindustani classical music. However, as the months of preparation progressed, it turned into something more. I began to see the ways in which music was affecting me and the people around me; I realized that I wanted to dedicate this project to a cause acknowledging this.

Why is mental health important?

Cancer militantly consumes our entire body. Arthritis silently immobilizes us. Chronic heart disease creates undue pressure on our very existence. There are so many ailments that hinder our ability to live fully and to live well. However, pain is not limited to the physical body. It transcends to the mind and affects everything we do.

Mental illness has often been trivialized as unreal and nonexistent – a creation of the imagination that is a sign of weakness or lack of endurance. But this is undeniably untrue. Not only do countless studies show the repercussions and struggles of the 1 in 4 Americans suffering from mental illness (including increased risk of chronic medical conditions, higher mortality, increased hospitalization, exorbitant medical costs, and lowered quality of life). But, I’m sure you’ve felt how mental health plays a vital role in your life and in the lives of those you love. Whether it is perpetual feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, being trapped, anxiousness, or apathy, at one point in your life, you’ve probably experienced how mental and emotional well-being translates into your overall well-being. It affects your energy, health, and happiness. It affects your relationships and your ability to achieve the goals you create.

Even though mental illnesses may not come with outward physical signs, this does not mean they are not actually affecting us. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 154 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and about 40 million American adults have anxiety disorder. Mental illness is real. Its repercussions are real. And achieving good mental health gives us the freedom of choosing the way we want to live our lives – to our fullest potential.

Why is it, then, that such crippling illnesses that negatively impact our quality of life when unaddressed are deliberately avoided? Mental illnesses remain hushed in many communities, especially the Indian/South Asian community – it’s a hidden issue that silently ferments to the point of detonation. The stigma of mental illness has many roots. People often don’t disclose their pain because they don’t want to be a burden or they don’t want to be seen as “weak”. It’s common to think, “It’s not too bad, so many have it much worse than I do. I’m fine.” Endurance, to the point of denial of pain, is valorized; therefore, the pressure of living up to this flawed value is why so many people don’t utilize mental health services; their problems go unnoticed, leading to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Fear of bringing shame to the family and social pressures demanding that we strive for a persona that can juggle so many things with apparent ease combined with an inadequate understanding of mental illness and perpetuation of false stereotypes of those with mental illness fuels this silence.

This silence has to be lifted. The lack of awareness and support needs to change. That is why I have chosen to dedicate this CD to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. It is the leading organization in promoting research for the discovery of cures and underlying causes for mental illnesses. The BBR foundation has awarded more than 5,000 grants (~$340 million) to over 4,000 exceptional scientists, who are fulfilling its vision of alleviating the stigma and suffering due to mental illness. 100% of donor contributions for research are invested in research grants that fund better prevention and treatment protocols and finding cures. The BBR Foundation’s range of coverage is huge: it funds the whole breadth of mental illness research including ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia and childhood brain and behavior disorders.

The scope of the BBR Foundation is unparalleled, and by contributing you can make a huge difference in finding and improving cures and causes for mental illnesses.

Why music?

Using music as my means of bringing awareness to and removing stigma related to mental illness seemed very fitting. There is no doubt that music has the power to heal. I truly believe this. It has the power to elicit all kinds of feelings and memories and has the ability to connect with our deepest emotions. Music’s positive effect on mental health has been supported by numerous studies: music therapy has been shown to improve depression, anxiety, and social relationships; it has also been effective in treating bipolar disorder and substance abuse. For me, music has been a cure for stress, boredom, and sadness and a fountain of creative stimulation, continual learning, and happiness. I would like to dedicate this album to overcoming misconceptions, increasing tolerance and acceptance, and bringing awareness to these issues. I would also like to dedicate this album to shed light on the healing power of music. A lot of love and effort has been put into these songs, and the messages are beautiful and fitting: some songs talk about promoting tolerance and acceptance; others talk about the merits of service and humanity; and others simply have descriptions of beautiful things in our lives that we can take the time to appreciate.

My goal is to use music as my platform to lend support, initiate discussions, and create a community to lift the stigma. Let this music be a reminder that there is support and help if you need – don’t be afraid to reach out or help someone you know do the same.

Please consider donating to this amazing organization, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and please share my music and the music you love with others.

Join me in breaking the silence with music, and please donate to support the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Thank you!




Get The Word Out