Friday 22nd December 2017


Singing in groups can help people recover from mental illness, making them feel valued and increasing their confidence, according to research.

A University of East Anglia study of singers involved in free weekly workshops in Norfolk found benefits to mood and social skills.

Researchers said the Sing Your Heart Out project had stopped some people from relapsing.

They urged other areas to consider running community singing groups.

The Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO) initiative started in 2005 at a psychiatric hospital in Norwich, before branching out into the community.

It is aimed at people with mental health conditions as well as the general public, and regularly attracts hundreds of people to four weekly sing-alongs.

One of them is Penny Holden, 67, who has lived with bipolar disorder all her life.

She credits the singing group with turning her life around 13 years ago, when she was at her lowest.

She said singing in harmony had been a wonderful tonic.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s such a nurturing environment, where we look out for each other and help each other.

“I found it difficult to relate to people and trust them when I first went along, but I knew I wanted to do something to get involved in life again.

“But I didn’t want to sit around talking and drinking tea and biscuits.”


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