Using music and creativity to aid recovery
The Musician in Residence (MiR) programme is a partnership between Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Philharmonic. It has been running over the past 8 years, expanding from 2 sites to now working across 18 NHS Trust sites with local and secure services, and a growing community-based programme.
In 2015/16 the team delivered sessions to 2,282 services users within inpatient and community settings, across a wide geographical area of the Liverpool city region benefiting more than 10,000 service users since 2008.
A team of 8 Liverpool Philharmonic lead musicians and a further 30 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic musicians deliver sessions that bring live music performance, practical music making and composition to adults of all ages (18-80) suffering from mental illness. These groups include individuals with a range of conditions including brain injuries, dementia, learning disabilities and substance abuse. We work in a range of settings from psychiatric intensive care units through brain injuries work to settings which helps service users transition back into the community.
These sessions epitomise supporting service-user engagement. Coupled with joint participation from staff and impeccably led by the Lead Musician, the sessions are consistently pitched at the appropriate levels to promote a positive response. The uplift in mood and demeanour by those present is tangible and greatly appreciated by all concerned.
The benefits and outcomes from individual involvement with the inpatient programme include: supporting recovery, improving health and wellbeing of service users, reducing isolation, increasing confidence, communication and participation of service users through high quality musical and skills development
Liverpool Philharmonic musicians, individually and collectively in ensembles, work on the wards and in education spaces across all Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust inpatient services, and within the community programme with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust's Community Mental Health Team. The sessions are co-delivered with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust staff, who participate in the sessions and document engagement and impact on service users as part of each individual’s care and recovery plan.
The Community programme is currently expanding and includes monthly Living Music sessions where service users can learn about music and composition in a supportive environment, choral projects, supported rehearsal and concert visits and informal daytime ensemble concerts in our Music Room.
One of the most memorable sessions I have had, was with someone who had been in and out of services for 40 years. I had gone to the session with another member of the orchestra and we ended-up playing a Beatles song. This gentleman decided to join in and sing with us. He began to cry and get quite emotional, it turns out the song had been played at his mother’s funeral but his emotions had never come out. He had been planning to leave the centre that day, but after that he stayed on. He said that it had helped overcome the tension inside him. He has now been ‘clean’ for three years and credits it to what happened that day.
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