Mental Health Inpatient Experiences of Song-writing: A Qualitative Study


The Australian Journal of Music Therapy




This study explores the experience of engaging in song-writing in mental health inpatient units through lyric analysis and qualitative interviews with people who engaged in song-writing during an admission. Themes identified from song lyrics were romantic love, spirituality, the meaning of life and illness. Themes identified from interview data related to the process of writing the song; the process of collaborating, the expression of emotion, music in hospital and the relationship of music to mental health. Findings highlight that song-writing provides a collaborative activity in which participants with acute mental distress are able to express themselves and explore issues relevant to their illness and recovery. The study suggests that facilitated song-writing can provide an important creative therapeutic outlet contributing to recovery in mental health settings.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Hospitalized Patients; Interviews; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Song Lyric Discussion; Songwriting

Indexed Terms

Lyrics; Therapists; Consumers; Recovery (Medical); Writing; Length of stay; Communication; Mental health care; Health services; Empowerment; Mental disorders; Consent; Vocal music; Qualitative research

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type