A neuroscientist at the department of psychiatry at Cambridge University has set up a social venture called Hip Hop Psych in a bid to promote the use of the music genre in the treatment of mental illnesses.
The professor in question, Becky Inkster revealed that hip-hop music has been found to boost individuals’ sense of self-knowledge and empowerment through its dense and introspective lyrics. She commented:
“There is so much more to hip-hop than the public realises. It is rich in references to psychiatric illnesses that have not been properly explored which could be of enormous benefit to patients. We want to work with rappers, charities, medical groups and others to promote its real potential.”
Although listening to ‘happy’ music has long been known to boost people’s moods, psychiatrists are now claiming that hearing other people’s struggles and how they overcame them can be hugely beneficial when recovering from mental illnesses.
Rap and hip-hop artists notoriously come from deprived areas where drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty are rife. This kind of environment is linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses and these experiences are frequently turned into song lyrics by artists.
If Professor Inkster’s research is implemented, patients seeking therapy may soon be asked to write about their feelings and where they see themselves in the future in rap-form. She continued:
“Hip-hop in general and rap in particular, often carry messages that are much more complex than is generally appreciated. That makes it an ideal medium for helping individuals understand their psychological problems and for finding ways to deal with them.”
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