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Music | Liverpool

Liverpool PhilharmonicMusic and Mental Health Programme

Liverpool Philharmonic encompasses the critically-acclaimed Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, an extensive programme of participative work with young people and others across the community and presentation of almost 400 concerts and events each year at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Through the ‘Music and Mental Health Programme’ Liverpool Philharmonic and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust have been working in partnership since 2008, delivering programmes in Mersey Care in-patient settings and the local community, targeted at service users, their families, carers and Trust staff. Liverpool Philharmonic is continually expanding the programme and in 2019 began a new programme with Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, to support the mental wellbeing of individuals on the Wirral.

Liverpool Philharmonic

Liverpool Philharmonic

Target Beneficiaries

The programme supports people in Liverpool and the wider city region living with a range of mental health needs. The programme aims to create a city region where anyone experiencing mental ill-health can access, enjoy and benefit from music to aid their recovery.

The programme develops confidence, skills and hope for the future, reducing isolation and exclusion of often highly marginalised individuals at very challenging times in their lives.


Sessions and activities include: group music making, performances, music promoter courses, singing, composition and improvisation, rehearsal and attendance at concerts by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sessions are delivered across mental health units, Dementia wards, drug and alcohol rehabilitation units, brain injury units, psychiatric care units, secure units, learning disability units as well as in elderly care and hospitals. The programme also includes supported concert and rehearsal visits to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

During Covid-19, Liverpool Philharmonic musicians began delivery of online sessions for inpatient wards at Springview Hospital on the Wirral, in partnership with Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Sessions were delivered for people living with dementia and people living with eating disorders.

At the heart of every session is creating a person-centred approach to recovery, using high-quality music as a mechanism of change through self-expression and ownership.



Since 2008 the Music and Mental Health programme has worked with 14,000 service users across a variety of inpatient and community settings.

A 10-year evaluation of the programme by Dr Susanne Burns demonstrated that the Music and Mental Health programme contributes to improving people’s confidence and self-actualisation, reduces their isolation, develops new skills and creates opportunities for independent living. It also generates positive outcomes for NHS staff and can improve the ward environment at inpatient settings. Dr Susanne Burns created a bespoke evaluation framework for Music and Mental Health programme. This outlines the programme’s aims, outputs and outcomes and is continually updated to reflect the changing and diverse needs of the programme.

In recent online surveys of the Life Rooms courses



There are also many benefits for families and carers and for the professionals involved.

Outcomes for service users include:

  • increased confidence, wellbeing, social interaction and development of new skills
  • reduced anxiety, agitation and verbal and physical aggression and relaxed mood
  • reduced isolation and improved inclusion through shared experiences
  • improved mood
  • enhanced self-determination and empowerment

The aim is to support a total of 20,000 service users by 2023. This will be achieved by expanding the partnership activity with Mersey Care, developing the community mental health programme and social prescribing model, and developing new partnerships with NHS and social care providers across the Liverpool City Region.

View Project Evaluation


Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council, Garfield Weston & The Foyle Foundation