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Music Soothes Depression in Youths

Update Date: Oct 23, 2014 06:05 PM EDT

Music therapy can help reduce depression in kids with mental health problems, according to a new study.

New research conducted at Queen's University in Belfast revealed that music therapy significantly improved self-esteem and reduced depression in children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems.

The latest study involved 251 children who were divided into two groups. One group underwent the traditional treatment, and the other group was assigned to traditional treatment and music therapy.

The study revealed that children in the music therapy group were significantly more likely to report higher self-esteem and lower depression levels after treatment.

"This study is hugely significant in terms of determining effective treatments for children and young people with behavioral problems and mental health needs," lead researcher Professor Sam Porter of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University said in a news release.

"This is the largest study ever to be carried out looking at music therapy's ability to help this very vulnerable group, and is further evidence of how Queen's University is advancing knowledge and changing lives," added co-researcher Dr. Valerie Holmes, of the Center for Public Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, according to a university release.

"Music therapy has often been used with children and young people with particular mental health needs, but this is the first time its effectiveness has been shown by a definitive randomized controlled trial in a clinical setting. The findings are dramatic and underscore the need for music therapy to be made available as a mainstream treatment option. For a long time we have relied on anecdotal evidence and small-scale research findings about how well music therapy works. Now we have robust clinical evidence to show its beneficial effects," Ciara Reilly, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, concluded.

The findings were presented Oct. 23 at a conference in Riddel Hall at Queen's University Belfast.

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