Mental health patients to benefit from live music on wards

Following pilot sessions on the Bradgate Mental Health Unit on the Glenfield Hospital site, the band have succeeded in gaining NHS funding from Leicestershire Partnership Trust to continue the good work on older people’s mental health wards.

The aim is to help patients and highlight the benefits of music as therapy, with the hope of potentially rolling the project out to other mental health trusts.

Moving InWards, the project was set up by Refuge frontman Pete Hirst, who was hospitalised with psychosis when he was 20 and later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“That was the most challenging time of my life. When I came out of hospital, music was one of the main things that helped me,” he said.

“That’s why this project is so exciting. It’s about getting the word out there as to just how beneficial live music can be.”

Mark, who has mentored Refuge, said he was happy to be involved.

“It has become more than just helping with the songwriting and giving advice,” he said.

“I’ve become involved in the recordings and appeared on their records. I’ve become very passionate about it. It’s a great project and it’s nice to do something really positive.

“It’s about destigmatising mental health and getting people to talk about it.

“But also, if you can get people who haven’t interacted with other people for a while to play music together, that’s a step in the right direction.”

Lydia Towsey, arts in health co-ordinator for the trust, said: “We have worked with Pete for a number of years and when he approached us with this idea it sounded wonderful and radical. When you think of musicians touring, you don’t think of hospitals.

“The pilots have been very successful. Someone like Pete, who has had personal experience of mental health problems, gives patients hope.
“He has been through it and come out the other side.

“The inspirational value and message of hope is perhaps one of the most important things about the project.”