It is Children's Mental Health Week in early February, and as "Feeling Good", our Music and Mental Health project with young people in the region, has also begun in-person sessions once again, we felt it was the perfect time to (once again) highlight the importance of music for our mental health.

Rebecca Denniff was the lead facilitator on the "Feeling Good" project at the Becton Centre in Sheffield for its first two years. The project's aim has always been to use music as a tool for young people to explore their emotions, both light and dark, within a supportive and safe framework.

Music is quite often the key to opening the door to better mental health for us all.

Since September 2023, the project has developed and is now in three settings: Becton Centre, Chapel House and Sheffield Childrens’ Hospital, with music leader Chris Morris and assistant music leader Billie Johnson. A large part of most musical creation centres on expressing human feelings, and our project with the children who are struggling with their mental health, encourages them to explore their emotions using music as an expressive tool. This allows them to have a voice in a way that feels both safe and empowering, and often provides a chance for young people to open up in a way that they directly relate to. The children's own musical preferences, musical games and play, instruments and apps lead to creating music which express how the children really feel.

You can read what Rebecca had to say on returning to in person delivery once again after COVID here.

Further to this, musical activities are used as a vehicle to guide these children through their emotions (with professional support) to steer them onto positive paths and help them navigate some often quite difficult issues and situations. Helping young people to open up and express themselves through music has proven, time after time, to be incredibly successful at not only engaging with young people, but helping them to overcome difficulties in their lives, setting them up for more and better opportunities and options for the future. The project has already improved young people's confidence and the ability to express themselves in a positive way. Music is quite often the key to opening the door to better mental health for us all.

Our Mental Health project is part of our Social Prescribing offer for children and young people, where music, the arts and other hobbies and activities are used to support medical and social interventions for those in challenging circumstances. Find out more here.

Here are a couple of past editions of "Music Makes Lives Better..." on this topic too: including some academic research on music and mental health, as well as an exploration of how music can help a child's mental health during these strangest of times.