Could the Arts Be Affecting Our Minds?
By Katie J
It’s been a topic of debate amongst psychologists who wonder if the arts affect a persons mental state. Some argue that mental illness and the fine arts go hand-in-hand. According to a 1994 study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry, artists were two to three times more likely to commit suicide or abuse substances.
But do the fine arts actually hurt or help us?
I sat down with Mr. Joel Smales, the band teacher at Binghamton Highschool, to see what he thinks.
Q: How do you think the arts affect someone’s mental state?
A: I think it affects it a great deal. It provides stimulation, relaxation, concentration, and it helps people cope with life. It helps give us a sense of purpose.
Q: How have the arts effected you?
A: I mean, it’s my career— the teaching, writing, and the preforming of them. I also attend a lot of events.
Q: Do you think that the arts improve or harm your mood?
A: Definitely, it can improve it. Art can be thought provoking, depending on if it’s a performing arts piece or a piece of music. Depending on the artist, it could depress the audience or do the opposite.
Some students here at BHS want to share their thoughts. Jake believes the arts have effected him and his family in many ways.
Shayne says, “The arts have affected my life a lot. When it comes to music, I’m in concert band, stage band and the steel drum band.” When asked if he felt that the arts help or hurt the mind, he said, “I feel like the arts improve it more than hurt it.”
Nick had an interesting answer when asked if the arts can help or harm the mind. “Yes and no, depending on the type of fine arts. A person might not have a connection to the piece, so it may have no effect at all,” said Nick.
Does the public at large have a different opinion on if the arts help or hurt them? Listen to my audio piece to hear the results of my poll!