Music therapy and mental health

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"When words fail me, music speaks and it’s made a huge impact on my life; I just feel so privileged for that."

One in four of us experiences some sort of mental health difficulty during our life. For some it is a passing episode of distress, while for others it can be a severe illness that seriously disrupts relationships, home life and career. There may be an obvious cause e.g. a bereavement or abusive situation or a range of contributing factors.

Difficulties range from mild depression and anxiety to severe mental health issues  such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. A wide range of emotional or behavioural problems include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. Difficulties may be experienced at any age.

Making music offers people a new experience of themselves, which can support those experiencing temporary distress or chronic and enduring problems.

We advocate music therapy to supplement medical treatment not as an alternative. But we believe that music can promote recovery and wellbeing in a unique way.

Potential benefits

Every course of music therapy is different, and there are no set results. However some of the ways that people experiencing difficulties with emotional or mental health and wellbeing have been found to benefit from music include:

  • helping people to ‘find a new voice’, raising levels of confidence and self-esteem
  • helping people to discover more about how they relate to others
  • offering a means of experimenting with new ways of being expressive
  • connecting people with their feelings when it can be difficult
  • improving focus and concentration
  • aiding recovery in psychiatric settings by helping people tolerate the stressful and alienating experience of hospitalisation
  • helping people to ease the transition from hospital to life back in the community.

If you’d like to speak to one of our therapists about music therapy and mental health, get in touch or find out how to make a referral for you or on behalf of an organisation.