This World Mental Health Day, The Life Rooms are celebrating the 15th anniversary of Liverpool Philharmonic’s flagship Music and Health Programme, now the longest-running and largest of its kind. Working across 27 wards in 4 partner NHS Trusts, the Music and Health programme is an initiative that harnesses the power of music to promote well-being and improve the mental and physical health of participants.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust are the original partners of this innovative programme which began in 2008, pioneering the first mental health NHS Musician in Residence programme. The Music and Health programme has supported over 18,000 people living with mental and physical ill health across the Liverpool City Region, including members of The Life Rooms who have taken part in several music and singing programmes throughout the years to support their health and wellbeing.

Feedback from participants in the programme has been overwhelmingly positive, with one participant saying: “People think I am a different person these days. We cannot mend ourselves with medicine alone. That is why these courses are so important to me and many others.”

The programme places emphasis on individuals’ creative agency as part of their recovery journey and raises confidence through learning new skills. Music and Health provide opportunities for participants to benefit from live music in the community and care sites and boosts wellbeing.

Michael Crilly, Director of Social Health and Community Inclusion at The Life Rooms, said: “Those of us connected to this partnership between Mersey Care and the Philharmonic over the last decade have witnessed first-hand the phenomenal impact that music has had upon the recovery journey of literally thousands of service users across all parts of our organisation. 

These programmes have delivered a truly humanising process, through which our service users have been engaged as a whole person and not simply seen as the diagnosis that so often defines their existence. Mersey Care has remained committed to this partnership year on year not simply because it is merely a ‘nice’ thing to do but because we have successively seen the programmes deliver very real and transformative recovery and wellbeing outcomes.”

Liverpool Philharmonic are also working in partnership with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Improving Me, and the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust. In addition to working across hospital and care settings, Music and Health welcomes referrals from GPs, Link Workers, and community groups across the region into Social Prescribing and community programmes. Music and Health provide participants and NHS professionals access to free musical activities, concerts, and rehearsal visits to hear the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. 

The 15th anniversary celebrations will see current and past participants from across the programme take part in special performances both on the stage and in hospital wards. In addition to performances, Liverpool Philharmonic and the University of Liverpool will release a joint special report on the benefits the programme has had on participants, their families, NHS Staff, and musicians since its inception. On 16 October, the celebrations will draw to a close with a special event held at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster hosted by Dan Carden MP for Liverpool, Walton.