Mental health songs

Mental health is a human right and important for all of us, especially during times of crisis. In this project, we aim to investigate how song lyrics address mental health issues and how they can serve to foster learners’ mental health literacy. For this, we created a corpus of English-language mental health songs (MHS). As there are no fixed criteria for MHS, corpus creation was informed by previous studies investigating how mental health discourse is shaped in songs. The corpus analysed covers the time span from 1949 to 2021 and comprises 150 songs (approx. 48,000 tokens). The analysis reveals that the MHS lyrics possess the potential to familiarise learners with the relevant discourse on mental health and mental disorders, thus suggesting that MHS may provide an important and motivating starting point for learners to engage with the topic and its surrounding discourse.

Interdisciplinary project in cooperation with PD Dr. Valentin Werner 


Werner, V., & Summer, T. “Mental health songs: Korpusanalyse und Implikationen für den Englischunterricht”. Interdisziplinäres Symposium zum Thema “Widerstand und Kontroversität im Kontext gesellschaftlichen Wandels und gesellschaftlicher Transformation“. TaLC Limerick, 15.07.2022; Universität zu Köln. 28.-29.10.2022.


Summer, T. & Werner, V. (2024). Music and Mental Health in ELT: A Focus on Emotional Self-Regulation with Insights from Psychotherapy. In C. Ludwig, T. Summer, M. Eisenmann, D. Becker, N. Krüger (Eds).  Mental Health in English Language Education. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto.

Werner, V. & Summer, T. (2024). Mental Health Songs: Corpus-based Analysis and Implications for EFL Education. English Text Construction 16(2). 169-196.