PERINATAL MENTAL HEALTH
Made with Music at The Mount
In September 2019, Arts and Minds funded a ten week music project partnership between Made with Music and the Yorkshire Regional Perinatal Mental Health Service, based at The Mount in Leeds. Research at the Royal College of Music published in 2018 showed that a group of women with moderate to severe postnatal depression symptoms improved faster in a ten week singing group compared to other interventions and we’d heard anecdotal evidence about how much music helped through our community classes from mums who had experienced postnatal depression.
At Made with Music, we try to think about the wellbeing of parents and carers in everything that we do by getting them fully involved with sessions and building everyone’s confidence so we were keen to develop this further. We designed the sessions to involve lots of different styles of music, using songs and rhymes that encouraged a practical way for mums to bond with their baby. We also used songs that got parents singing in harmony and that would encourage singing and using music at home. By the time we got to the last few sessions, the participants suggested all the songs that we were singing and we built the sessions around their choices.
We had some great results from the pilot; no one dropped out, everyone reported a lift in mood over each session (see graph) and 100% would recommend the group to others. We wanted to run the project with more groups to check these results and see what would happen with another group of women. The Mount agreed to fund another 4 blocks of 10 weeks so that we can look at the impact and Leeds Inspired funded a continuation project of a family choir for parents and siblings to attend after they have been to the parent and baby group.
Unfortunately, our first blocks of these projects were cut short after 9 weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak and we haven’t yet been able to go back. We’ve been providing online singing content on Facebook and YouTube that has been used on the ward at The Mount and we’re trying to keep in touch with Mums over social media and through providing regular singing content for young children. It’s definitely not the same as being together in the same room and we can’t wait to get back to singing with everyone.
We can’t tell you about the project better than the parents who came along, so here’s one of many quotes we could have used about the sessions - you can hear the mums talking in the audio below:
‘It’s great to be able to meet other babies and other mums and just feel really good about yourself, because it’s so easy to feel really rubbish. This just takes you away and you can really relax and release and just enjoy the moment’.