How to save a life


Some days ago, a friend of mine sent me an article by my favorite German weekly newspaper Die ZEIT, titled: The Power of Music (in its German original: Die Macht der Musik). The article explored the psychological healing-power music has, how it is used in therapy and why it helps. To be fair, I study psychology and I did a research project on music’s influence on cognitive performance — so I had some knowledge of the topic before I read the article. But even without a scientific background, a lot of people are pretty much aware of the fact that music can have a positive influence on their psyche. Everybody has bands, records, or specific songs he or she finds shelter in when the whole world seems to fall apart, or — less dramatically put — he or she is just having a bad day.

Since last week I have been listening practically non-stop to the song Into The Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I got into the song because of Tom Petty’s tragic and way too early death due to cardiac arrest at the beginning of October — and even though I have never been a huge fan, I shared some important life-moments with his music. It is a fact that this year already took away some of the world’s greatest musicians, like Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell and now Tom Petty.

After the death of famous artists, people get sometimes overthrown with a certain nostalgia, like I have been with Tom Petty’s music. But some people are really shattered when musicians die. For some fans, a song is a nice memory — and for others, a song is a lifesaver. Some musicians really speak to their fans, because they struggled with similar issues that, like in the cases of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, can lead to tragic suicides.

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, to raise awareness and improve issues concerning mental health. But even after that day is over, it is important to talk about it because those issues do not suddenly stop being important. Many artists struggle with mental health issues and they transform their pain into music, that connects those, who would have been alone otherwise. Not everybody needs to have a lifesaver song, but some really do. And the mere fact that this is the case should be enough to be aware of those issues, to take them serious and to aim for improvement.

Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.

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