21-year-old SUNY Purchase art student overcomes childhood trauma through music

Melody as a therapy - that's what music means to 21-year-old Max Mili, an art student at SUNY Purchase – and a tenacious young musician on a mission.

Nikita Ramos

May 8, 2024, 2:37 AM

Updated 20 days ago

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Melody as a therapy - that's what music means to 21-year-old Max Mili, an art student at SUNY Purchase – and a tenacious young musician on a mission.
"I was a victim of sexual assault for 10 1/2 years," Mili says.
And the weight of that trauma marked his mental health for most of his childhood.
"I had Stockholm syndrome, so for the longest time, my parents weren't aware of the situation I had unfortunately been in," he says.
He turned to music at a young age and the rhythm became his refuge.
Now it's his catalyst to bring a critical message to center stage.
"I wish mental health was more blatantly covered...and I want to be that, I want to be that guy that people can relate to," Mili says. "I feel like words can't communicate, but you know what can? Music. And that my parents gave to me."
In fact, doctors say parents are a pillar for a child's mental health.
Max's mother Ilicia Beck provided his outlet.
"His key healing through music was more about the lyrics, so I embraced that, we have a piano, he has guitars he has keyboards," says Beck.
It's a march to the same tune doctors encourage.
"Kids want to be able to connect but in order to do that you need to be invested in your kids, what they watch what they listen to," says Dr. Shreya Nagula, a psychiatrist at Westchester Medical Center.
As health experts report that post-COVID pandemic mental health impacts in children have surged, a safe space is more important than ever.
"My parents just incentivized me to feel comfortable and music definitely helped," he says.
For more resources on children's mental health, click here.


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