Ep. 146: Music and adolescent health: Prevention, early intervention and treatment of youth and youth athletes; with Gene Beresin, MD, MA

Student athletes

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

We are seeing a crisis of mental health and wellbeing in our youth and student athletes. In this episode, we discuss music’s value in improving the health and wellbeing of our adolescents; special applications for our young athletes; and why Dr. Gene Beresin says music “hits the spot” as an effective tool for students’ mental wellbeing toolkit.


My guest today is Dr. Gene Beresin, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and senior educator in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. In his 40 years working with youth, Dr. Beresin has focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment of teens and young adults, and is often called upon by media to weigh in on the impact of societal issues relevant to this vulnerable population. He is executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is an author and conference speaker, and has consulted on a variety of TV shows, including ER, and Law and Order SVU. And he’s a fellow podcaster!

Dr. Gene Beresin


We discuss:

  • Dr. Beresin’s combined backgrounds in music, medicine, and psychiatry. He has a BA in music from Princeton University, MA in philosophy along with MD from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his clinical work, he is a musician and member of the band Pink Freud and the Transitional Objects.
  • How music can be utilized for improved health & well-being for adolescents.
  • There have been a lot of high-profile young athletes who have talked about the pressures involved in their sports experiences, especially during the most recent Olympics when Simone Biles withdrew for mental/emotional health reasons. How can music be applied specifically with youth athletes and the pressures they face?
  • Recommended resources for youth, teachers, parents, and coaches who want to learn more.
  • Dr. Beresin recently authored a book on music’s role in supporting human health and happiness. It just released late October of this year, and is titled, Music (Arts for Health). He tells us about the book, its purpose, and his favorite part of the book.
  • The podcast he co-hosts: Shrinking it Down: Mental Health Made Simple.

Connect/Other Resources

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

This is a quick break to tell you about Sonix, the service that I use to transcribe these episodes. Sonix is an artificial intelligence transcription service that automatically converts audio and video files to text – and can translate to over 40 languages. I transcribe these episodes to make them more accessible. I tried multiple services, and chose to stick with Sonix because of their accuracy, affordability, and because their site is just so easy to use; that’s a big plus for me, to not need to spend a bunch of time figuring out one more platform! While I love podcasts, I do tend to be a very visual learner. I figure other people probably are, too; and having that written form of your work just makes it more versatile. Sonix transcripts make the most of your hard work and can increase traffic to your site. Sonix is spelled s-o-n-i-x. You can check them out with a free trial PLUS an extra 100 minutes of free transcription by using the link sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100. There’s a link in the show notes. Again, it’s sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100 for a free trial AND an extra 100 minutes of free transcription.


Gene shares a double-Coda with us! He tells of the most meaningful musical moment in his life, which involved Bob Dylan’s song, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll:”

He also shares the outro he wrote for the Shrinking It Down podcast. Performed by Gene Beresin with Cold Chocolate and Friends. Written by Gene Beresin.

Closing Words

Thank you so much to Dr. Beresin for joining us today! As always, there are lots of links in the show notes to resources discussed in this episode – including links to Dr. Beresin’s new book and his podcast, as well as a transcript of the episode. You’ll also find a list of related episodes you may enjoy.

All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better.

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You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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