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Singing improves mental well-being, study finds

Taking part in community singing groups helps people maintain or improve their mental well-being by developing feelings of belonging, research shows

Taking part in community singing groups helps people maintain or improve their mental well-being by developing feelings of belonging, research shows


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A team at the University of East Anglia examined the benefits of singing among people with mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.

Researchers worked over a six month period with the Sing Your Heart Out project (SYHO) based in Norfolk, which runs singing workshops.

Around 120 people attend the four, free workshops each week, with two thirds of participants having had contact with mental health services.

The team undertook interviews and focus groups with participants, organisers, and workshop leaders for the study, published in the BMJ journal Medical Humanities.

'Sanity-saving'

Lead researcher Tom Shakespeare said: ‘We heard the participants calling the initiative a “life-saver” and that it “saved their sanity”. Others said they simply wouldn't be here without it, they wouldn't have managed – so we quickly began to see the massive impact it was having.'

For some participants SYHO was part of a wider programme of support, while for others it was the key to recovery or maintenance of good mental health. But the main result, he said, was happiness.

The study found a feeling of belonging and well-being was created that often lasted a day or more, as well as improving social skills and confidence.

Read the study in full


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