Helping Musicians With Mental Health | news

Mary Natvig is transforming her experience in the world of music according to the needs of college students.

Natvig hopes to start a new profession after retiring as a professor of musicology at Bowling Green State University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

He has his Ph.D. in musicology and is two years old from retirement. She also knows that she won’t sit down until she retires.

“A few years ago I was assistant dean at the College of Musical Arts. Among other academic things, I was tasked with taking care of recruiting and retention. The retention part was when a student was thinking about leaving BGSU, or thinking about leaving music, or was not doing well academically and risking being expelled, “Natvig said.

“I have seen so many students who have struggled with mental health disorders, some mild, some severe, and for some reason many of them have opened up to me. I also revealed myself if I thought it would help them, and found myself guiding them to the counseling center, most of the time. This led me to study mental health among musicians, to do research. I found that mental health problems were very common among musicians.

He knows the difficulties that some of the students face, which are often exacerbated by the stress of the music world.

“I’m not saying that all music students all have mental health problems, certainly not. But for those who do, I think it’s important that they have someone who understands their schedule, for example, practicing four hours a day, ”Natvig said.

He comes to the studio from personal experience.

“I suffer from depression and have had it since I was a child. Almost derailed me in college. I went to three colleges because I kept coming home. I kept recovering. Nobody can tell me why. I always got good grades, but I was crying all the time. I felt desperate, ”Natvig said.

“They took me to doctors and psychiatrists, who told me I wasn’t sick enough, because my grades were always good.

“I’ve always been mildly depressed. I always thought that was how people lived. Then I would have these bouts of major depressive disorder. When I finally got a diagnosis at age 30, it was aphasia, along with situational major depressive disorder.

Eventually there was a therapist who diagnosed her.

“She didn’t care that I had a PhD, it worked and published. He has seen beyond. Along with a diagnosis, he suggested that I see a psychiatrist for drugs.When I started those drugs, I couldn’t believe them. My first thought was, “You mean this is how people live?” ”Natvig said. “She completely changed my life and I’m very grateful to her.”

Aphasia has recently been renamed persistent depressive disorder.

“I felt really drawn to helping music students. It is a difficult grade. I think I understand the life of a major music company pretty well, “Natvig said.

Natvig has all three of his degrees from the Eastman School of Music

Eastman was the third school he attended for college students. In the first semester she played the violin on average at least six hours a day, then she changed from performance to musicology. This cut his mandatory playing time in half. He has also been giving academic lectures the whole time.

“I was much better off with my brain than with my fingers,” Natvig said.

He dreams of advising students of music and art, probably by entering a private practice. However, some music schools, including Eastman, have consultants assigned specifically to music students. Natvig said BGSU currently has no one in that position.

“I have to say that BG’s College of Musical Arts understands this. I received nothing but support from my colleagues, ”Natvig said.

It has a chapter on teaching musicians with depression that is coming out in a book by the University of Illinois Press.

He compared it to the stress of athletes, but without the level of scholarship money, potential pay or notoriety. This is combined with the growing mental health problems among college students and the stigma of getting help.

“Athletes are the heroes of the school. Trombone players are not. Violinists, viola are not. When you have a passion for something and then doubt yourself, or there isn’t enough money, everything collapses. If you don’t have anyone who understands it … I think it’s hard. “

She is careful, as a mental health counseling student, because she is not yet a therapist.

“I can’t be seen as advice,” Natvig said. “It’s like you’re a doctor student, you can’t take out someone’s appendix. I don’t want to analyze someone. “