• Quote of the Day
    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

JJ

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Music is a major influence on our lives and we all have dfferent likes and dislikes with regard to taste.

At a conference on suicide we had an interesting debate with some academics (from Oxford) who were of the opinion that music and its lyrics had little bearing on suicide.

We disagree. In our area we have had 9 suicides of teenagers in the last 18 months. We spoke to all the priests/ministers who were supporting the families and asked them to find out at a suitable time if there had been in change in the music taste of the person involved. All nine families said that there had been pronounced change in the deceased's music taste in the 6 weeks prior to the event. In each case the music being played had become extreme, black and morbid.

We think it is obvious that the state of mind will influence any taste in music throughout our lives.

So we think dramatic changes in music taste could be a strong signal if someone is troubled or in distress and everyone should be alert to such an indicator. On the other hand we mustn't get over sensitive about it but it is worth looking out for. Especially if there are other signs like not eating, washing, over drinking etc. But then you could argue that most teenagers act like that!

I am acutely aware that what I write about mental illness and self-harm - be it articles, books or through my music - it has the potential to influence in a negative way and that is why the lyrics I write always try to contain an positive message along with the reflective aspect so that it might help the state of mind and give some reassurance

Bad Alice Music - Home
The Cairn
 

David Baxter

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I think the key, though, is vulerability or susceptibility.

Many years ago, I had occasion to see in a short period of time three young men, all admitted to hospital with their first psychotic episodes after watching the movie The Wall (Pink Floyd) while high on either marijuana or LSD. On the other hand, thousands or perhaps millions of people have watched that movie, including probably a fair number who were also high, who did NOT experience a psychotic break.

There have always been people who are especially sensitive to music lyrics or other auditory or visual messages because of vulnerable emotional states, but I don't think it's fair to say that a particular song or film or video game should be held responsible for what those people may do after exposure to the specific media.

dramatic changes in music taste could be a strong signal if someone is troubled or in distress and everyone should be alert to such an indicator. On the other hand we mustn't get over sensitive about it but it is worth looking out for. Especially if there are other signs like not eating, washing, over drinking etc.

I completely agree. Any dramatic changes in behavior (at any age) should be watched closely and in teens it may be especially important for a variety of reasons.
 

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