Mental Health
How music and arts peer-based support are making a difference for teens

How music and arts peer-based support are making a difference for teens

The coronapocalypse has been devastating for adults, but it can be especially hard for teens. Many face big letdowns as graduations, proms, sports seasons, college visits and other long-planned events are canceled or postponed. Combine the teenager’s innate sense of invulnerability, their intense focus on peers, and the fact that the virus is less likely to harm them, and you may get a lot of pushback and teens who are struggling to process their feelings.

CONNECT Summit County has partnered with some fantastic local organizations to provide free virtual peer-based support for our teens.

Music-based Peer Support

Processing emotions is difficult for many teens and the Cole Project Group meets youth ages 13-18 where they are at…with music-based peer support on Thursdays at 3 p.m.

One teen shared, “Music helps me to find meaning in the worst parts of my life.  It allows me to connect to both my sadness and happiness and to find peace with them.  When I’m at my worst, music makes me feel love in spite of my pain.  When I’m at my best, music reminds me of my roots and helps me to appreciate how far I‘ve come.”

This online group focuses on connection, conversation, creativity and music-sharing. Group members have an opportunity to talk more about how things are going for them and do this, if they’d like, through their favorite music. In this setting, they are able to support one another through whatever experiences are arising–missing friends, grief, depression, isolation, really whatever is occurring.

“To me, music is a window.  Music is a window for me to forget my crappy life,” shares another teen. “Whether I’m playing or listening, music calms me and lets me out.  It reminds me that no matter what, I have a place where no one will judge me.  In the musical world, no one can tell me I don’t belong.”

What Now? For High School Juniors and Seniors

NOW WHAT? The future is bright for our high schoolers and we want them to be heard! This virtual support group on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. is created for our high schoolers, 11th and 12th graders especially, to redefine their expectations and find hope. It’s a place to connect with others in the same situation and give each other space to share what they’re experiencing.

This event is hosted by CONNECT Summit County and Amanda Cencak, CMHC, Daya Counseling.

Tween and Teen Art Jams

For artist Lisa Nivot, art is an isolating hobby but it is also a very healthy way to develop ingenuity, passion, invention and hope.  That is why she developed FREE weekly virtual art jams for tweens and tweens.  They have been temporarily disbanded but they provided a safe space for teenagers to connect during the COVID-19 crisis with themed art prompts to guide creative expression. “We need to think about the teens and be mindful of their internal dialogue. This global shift is forever altering and shaping the minds of our youth,” she says.

According to Lisa, art is a great form of expression and has been used in therapy for years because it is soothing, meditative and helps to relieve anxiety through color therapy.  In the future, she believes we are going to need our creative types more than ever to help build the new direction we are all heading.

“Our theme in a recent session was to paint our feelings,” says Lisa. “One teen talked about being sad. The other painted in almost all black. One talked about being alone at home with mom with no other kids,” she said. “So all of the work and outreach definitely has purpose. This painting is what I finished today. I call it ‘Acceptance.’ We are doing a good thing.”

All programs are free but registration is required. Learn more at our event calendar

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