About Our Work
Key Changes is the national charity for music and mental health. We promote positive mental health through music and support the wellbeing of musicians and music lovers experiencing conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Our core services provide music industry informed recovery-focused programmes in hospitals and the community. These are specifically aimed at groups that are disproportionately represented in mental health services in order to address health inequalities, social exclusion, and stigma and discrimination around mental health issues.
We’re proud to have launched the world’s first record label dedicated to releasing music from artists with lived experience of mental illness.
Our evidence-based approach draws on clinical therapeutic techniques combined with specially adapted elements of music industry practice. Our programmes are delivered through one-to-one mentoring, facilitated peer support, and pro-social activities.
This innovative response to increasing levels of mental health needs in the population delivers positive outcomes around recovery and wellbeing, and opens pathways to social inclusion and mainstream opportunities.
- One to one studio sessions with professional producers: song writing, composition, beat making, production & recording
- One to one artist development sessions with music industry mentors: a&r feedback, industry advice, biog, artwork, social media profiles, copyright and licensing
- Online musicians’ wellbeing network
- Option to release on in house record label
- Regular concerts and open mic sessions
- Progression routes to volunteering, work experience, training and employment
The service was developed in response to concerns from healthcare professionals about a lack of services relevant to “hard to reach” patients who can experience barriers to accessing culturally-relevant or appropriate treatment. This group may also struggle to engage with conventional therapies or comply with medication.
Our intake is through referrals from mental health and social care services. We can also consider self-referrals. Throughout engagement we work closely with multi-disciplinary teams including nursing staff, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.
- Pre-start taster session / assessment of musical interests, aspirations & goals, mental health history, access or risk factors
- Ongoing reports to care teams contact throughout engagement
- Combination of one-to-one and group work promoting creative collaboration, peer support and social inclusion
- Professionally-equipped studios with specially trained music industry mentors
- Safe, supportive and friendly with a non-judgemental approach
- Supports creative, technical and vocational skills
- Signposting to appropriate services and progression routes
- Up to date protocols, safeguarding policies, DBS disclosures, public liability insurance
- Progress and outcomes recorded through observation, feedback and evaluation
Music and Mental Health
Music can play a valuable role in recovery from mental illness. It can stimulate emotional and aesthetic responses, develop creative, technical, social and vocational skills, improve expression, communication, confidence and self-esteem, and facilitate positive changes in behaviour and wellbeing.
Our innovative approach draws on clinical therapeutic techniques and selected music industry practices using culturally appropriate musical activities and genres, creative collaboration, expert advice, mentoring and other support.
We aim to have a positive impact on health and wellbeing through reducing symptoms and relapse rates, developing social inclusion and creating new life opportunities.
We are also recognised for our pioneering work around improving physical health outcomes through using music as a conduit to engagement in sport, pro-social activities, and public health initiatives including asthma and smoking cessation.
Our award-winning programme also includes regular concerts, open mic and social events at our in-house venue and at community festivals, conferences and events.
In a recent survey of service users:
• 43% reported overall improvement in wellbeing
• 50% increase in self-scores for optimism
• 40% improvement in sense of connection
• 100% of participants would recommend to a friend
(source: WEMBWS survey April 2020)