“Sound It Out”: Music for Teen Mental Health

Remember being a teenager? Yes, there may have been some fun times. But there were also the zits, growth spurts, peer pressure, the tribal lunchroom scene, the general weirdness. And algebra. It was kinda like The Lord of the Flies with extra hormones.

Now think back to that time but throw in COVID, isolation, and a truly toxic social media environment. This is what kids are going through right now.

Here’s a sad (and alarming) statistic: the CDC notes that, during the pandemic, emergency room visits for panic and anxiety increased among the 12-17 age group by a shocking 31%.

For parents, having an honest conversation with their middle schooler or teen has always been about as easy as ascending Mt. Everest. How do you get past the standard “I’m fine” answer and start a dialogue? How do you do it in these even more trying times?

Enter Sound It Out, an Ad Council initiative that uses music as a catalyst for conversation about emotional wellness.

Sound It Out offers a “way in” for conversations with a teen. Their message? “When your child can’t find the right words, help them find the lyrics.”

The campaign includes original songs with some of today’s top artists, including Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, and more. The lyrics allow kids to highlight which lyrics “speak” to them, providing insights into where their head is (really) at.

Have a look at the PSA (the very cool creative work was done by Paramount’s branded content studio, Velocity)


It’s pretty genius. Think back to when the only thing that got you through a rough patch were the song lyrics that spoke to you. Just like then, the power of music can unlock conversations with a teen going through a tough time. That’s especially critical in this era.

Sound It Out provides other resources for parents and caregivers to unlock important conversations about mental health with their teens. We think this is a tool worth sharing.

-The NWP Team

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash





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