Music For Mental Health

“Emily didn’t only just give us music but also hope, to show that things can get better. It’s an experience that will stay with me for a long time.” 

(Service User, Eating Disorders Unit, Bristol, UK)


I am a British singer-songwriter and former patron of the UK mental health charity Restore recently returned to the UK from Australia and now based in Bath. I’ve released 7 albums, published 5 books and been featured many times in interviews on BBC radio including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Front Row, Midweek and numerous regional BBC Radio stations. I’ve had 3 singles playlisted on Radio 2 and toured the UK extensively with the likes of American legend Don McLean.

I ‘came out’ about having bipolar disorder when my first book ‘Start Over Again’ was launched on BBC Radio 2 on World Mental Health Day in 2010. Since then, as well as performing in concert halls, theatres and arts centres both in the UK and internationally in Europe, the US and Australia, I’ve also sung my songs for many mental health hospitals and groups. They are some of the most moving and rewarding gigs I’ve ever done.

“This should happen more often – the difference in the SUs [service users] is quite amazing.”

I’ve played on intensive care wards, rehab units, wards for people over 65, wards for people with dementia, adolescent wards, and medium-secure units for young people with serious mental health problems who have been through the criminal justice system. I’ve played for mental health support groups, community groups, NHS staff conferences and AGMs.

In 2019, I was awarded the Mogens Schou Award for Public Service and Advocacy by the US-based International Society for Bipolar Disorders. For the past 10 years, my song ‘Keep Walking’ has been used as the anthem for the Defeat Depression campaign in Canada.

“I was so deeply moved by Emily’s performances, and her powerful recovery story which was so inspirational.”

Please see below some of the feedback I’ve received about my mental health gigs. You can also read my article about the benefits of music for mental health. If you would like to talk to me about performing at your event, please contact us.

Feedback from managers

“Emily’s performance was one of the highlights of SCIE’s 2018 Co-production Festival – she mesmerized the audience with her performance and her poignant songs and music.” [Pete Fleischmann, Head of Co-production, Social Care Institute for Excellence]

“Listening to Emily Maguire was a real treat.  Completely emotive music from this wonderful mental health advocate.” [Care Quality Commission]

“I am writing on behalf of the Trust Board of Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust to say a big “thank you” for appearing at our Annual General Meeting. You gave a fantastic performance and I could see from looking around the venue when you were performing that everyone in attendance was captivated.” [Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust]

“I was so deeply moved by Emily’s performances, and her powerful recovery story which was so inspirational. I recommend Emily’s music and book to anyone, and particularly those who have experiences of recovery and mental health.” [Kimberley Iyemere, Arts Therapies Professional Lead, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Trust]

“It was just superb. Thank you for coming, playing such beautiful songs and talking about your experience of your own mental health and recovery. Your music is magical and hearing your recovery told through your songs was an incredible experience.” [Jules Pflaum, Occupational Therapist, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust]

“I think it’s safe to say that during the 3 plus years I’ve been working with the Chippenham group there hasn’t been anyone who came along that’s had a more positive reaction than you. You really connected with the people there and there was much talk after you left about how much they had enjoyed listening to you and how much they had taken from the words you sang.” [Nigel Lambden, Devizes Centre Manager, Wiltshire Mind]

“We were so fortunate to have Emily perform for our service users at Wotton Lawn Hospital and Stonebow Unit. She was outstanding. A fantastic performer who moved both service users and staff alike. We hope she’ll visit us again one day!” [Kate Nelmes, Communications Manager, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust]

“Many thanks for coming to Callington Road Hospital, Emily and performing for pretty much the entire duration of the tea party. You truly went above and beyond – especially in the ridiculous heat. I would like to thank you particularly for going on to the female PICU ward. For half an hour you completely changed the atmosphere in a truly bleak place. Your music and interaction with the patients inspired some incredibly traumatised and unwell women to step back into the present and remember that there is still hope. It was very appreciated by the staff and patients alike.”  [Alex Hiding (OT department) and all the staff on ECH and at Callington Road Hospital, Bristol]

“Emily has an incredible voice and captivating lyrics which reflect the challenges she has faced and represents the experiences of many of Bath Mind’s service users.” Kate Morton, Chief Executive, Bath Mind]

Feedback from the wards

“Emily has a wonderful voice, she sounds like Eva Cassidy. This should happen more often – the difference in the SUs [service users] is quite amazing.”

“People found Emily’s story inspiring and really enjoyed her music.”

“The readings Emily did really brought the session to life and demonstrated how people can and do recover so clearly. Extremely inspiring. Particularly helpful for staff who rarely see people achieve so much having had those experiences.”

“Emily made such a difference to the SUs, it would be good to have something like this more regularly.”

“People found the session very inspiring and at times emotional. They responded very well to Emily on a personal level and really enjoyed such a different activity. The fact that she attended and performed such an intimate session showed she valued the service users greatly.”

“The music was very calming to all of the SUs. The staff said it was a pleasure to listen to Emily and make such a difference to the SUs and carers in the ward.”

“It’s made a real difference to the mood of the unit today. Emily is lovely and can really sing.”

“Everybody gave very positive feedback about the event as a whole and praised Emily for her songs, musicality and how inspiring she is. They were delighted with her generosity (she gave a free single to every service user that wanted one).”

Emily is now based back in the UK.  If you would like to contact her about performing for your mental health hospital, group or any other social or care organisation, please contact us.

Performing at the World Congress of Psychiatry
Berlin, October 2017

Buddhism, breakdowns and a shack in the Australian bush… read Emily’s full story.