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Approximately, 121 million people world-wide are believed to suffer from depression. An estimated 1 million deaths a year are associated with suicide resulting from depression.

Anna Maratos, Arts Therapist, Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, London, UK, reviewed music therapy studies to determine if depressed patients benefited. After a search she identified 5 studies that met her criteria. A total of 4 studies found music therapy reduced symptoms of depression. The 5th study found that music therapy was ineffective.

Although the current studies predominately suggest that music therapy may be able to improve mood and has low patient drop-out rates it is important to note that there are a small number of relatively low quality studies in this area.

Because there are so few studies Maratos feels that additional research is needed to determine which form of music therapy has the greatest effect.