Melodies for Mums
Melodies for Mums is one of the programmes that inspired us as we researched how arts and culture can positively affect mental health and wellbeing…
Post-natal depression affects at least 13% of new mothers. Symptoms include persistent low mood, fatigue, insomnia, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, and anxiety about the baby. Although psychosocial and psychological interventions can be effective treatment options, there are significant problems with each.
Melodies for Mums is a viable alternative to these treatment options.
Drawing on pioneering research carried out in 2016 by Royal College of Music and Imperial College, Breathe Arts Health Research developed a 10-week programme of singing and music-making for mothers with post-natal depression (PND).
Breathe is the first organisation to take forward research by the Royal College of Music and Imperial College which showed a reduction of symptoms of post-natal depression of up to 41% through a type of structured workshop programme.
A trained music leader and a coordinator lead two hour-long weekly sessions, over 10 weeks with 14 women in each session. Sessions typically consist of learning a variety of culturally diverse songs focusing on the women.
Comments from participants include “A wonderfully uplifting experience for my baby and me” and “A fun and relaxed way to bond with my baby”.
The sessions encourage bonding with the baby, and engagement with each other. Participation is free which makes the service available to women of all socio-economic backgrounds. Music and singing also provide a culturally inclusive environment for mothers for whom English is not their first language.
The weekly meetings allow mums to establish a structure to their week and have a positive experience to focus on.
Breathe are currently running Melodies for Mums in Southwark and Lambeth. Their aim is to have mothers and children singing together and strengthening their mental health all across London. By involving mothers in the shaping of the project and empowering them to speak about their experiences the programme also leaves a lasting legacy.