music minds

A 12-week programme to enable and empower young people to improve their mental health through music.

‘’I kind of learnt through Music Minds that if I get stressed or really angry, instead of doing something else to get rid of anger, like punch somebody, I can write something down or listen to music and it will help me calm myself down.”


“I suffer from really low self-esteem and it made me feel differently about myself, and that was quite good, I felt I was in sort of a safe haven, all the other problems about school and friends weren’t there it was kind of a safe space, felt peaceful.”

Young person looking for advice/support? Find links to organisations who can help here.

For young people experiencing stress, anxiety and mental health problems, getting help before the age of 14 is crucial. Yet less than half of young adults with these problems get the support they need – often because they feel ashamed about their feelings.

Music can provide a safe environment to tackle this issue, a form of self-expression and understanding which our evaluations are showing, is proving effective as a means of building confidence and self-esteem, and developing resilience and coping strategies.

Music Minds is a music-led approach to reducing mental health issues with a focus on self-harm, body inage, eating disorders and stress. The programme has been developing in partnership with two schools, Barnwood Park Arts College, and Severn Vale; as well as funders the Gloucestershire NHS commissioning team and Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning, and Make Music Gloucestershire. Currently in its pilot stage, we are testing and adapting it with the intention of making it available more widely from 2018.


The programme involves:

  • Whole year, parent and teacher introductory activities – led by self-harm expert Satveer Nijjar – raising awareness and understanding of mental health and self-harm for pupils, teachers and parents – open to all
  • Weekly group music sessions for young people with mental health issues and at risk of self-harming.
  • One-to-one music mentoring sessions by referral from agencies working with young people (eg hospital education, youth support, social services)


Download the Music Minds programme outline and contact us as soon as possible to express your interest in being one of the first schools to partner in this pioneering programme once it launches fully in 2018. An interrim evaluation report is available on request.

Read our Music Minds blog post on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport blog

Watch the video made by our music leaders, to share what they learned with other music leaders across the UK:



Who’s behind this?

This work is being led and delivered by The Music Works in partnership with the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, as part of the CCG’s Cultural Commissioning Programme which is linking clinicians, patients, commissioners and patient representatives with artists and musicians to develop interventions that support people with dementia, diabetes, chronic pain, obesity, mental health and lung conditions. Music Minds is funded by Youth Music, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Make Music Gloucestershire. Initial development has been subsidised by Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning.

Get in touch to find out more or make a booking: