Sound Practice: Exploring the Benefits of Establishing a Music Group on an Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit


International Journal of Mental Health Nursing




There is evidence supporting the use of formal music therapy in the treatment of mental health consumers. Despite this, it appears to be an intervention which has not been routinely offered to consumers in Australian acute mental health inpatient units, possibly due to the lack of trained music therapists (or inadequate funding to employ them), as well as the challenges posed by the acuity of presentations and the short duration of admissions. Less formal therapeutic music activities may benefit consumers within these settings. This article describes how a music group activity facilitated by clinical staff with no music therapy qualifications was established. The first phase of this evaluation is then described using a descriptive qualitative method. We undertook a series of consumer and staff focus groups to explore the impact of a music group activity on an acute mental health inpatient unit. Five themes emerged from the transcripts of the focus groups’ discussions, effects on mood, relationships and engagement, social connectedness and inclusion, the ward atmosphere and noise/agitation. Positive effects were shown across these areas, suggesting that the music group activity we established was beneficial for consumers and staff, and enhanced the ward atmosphere. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Engagement Level; Mental Health; Mood; Music Medicine; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

mental health; mental health nursing; psychiatry; Acute Disease; Affect; Focus Groups; Inpatients; Mental Disorders; Psychiatric Department, Hospital; Auditory Stimulation; Emotional States; Funding; Intervention; Therapists; Qualitative Methods

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type