Over 100 people, who sing to improve their health and wellbeing, performed at the Hazlitt Theatre to celebrate the benefits that group singing has on their mind, body and soul.
Four singing groups from West Kent and Medway, and another four from East Kent, came together for a one off performance to celebrate a project conducted by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, in conjunction with Kent County Council’s Wellbeing campaign.
Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at the University, said: “Singing is a holistic activity which can promote physical, mental and social wellbeing. This showcase event brought together groups from across Kent which have worked with the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. Together we have created a robust evidence base on the health and wellbeing benefits of regular singing. We look forward working further with NHS and public health colleagues in Kent and Medway to sustain and develop singing for health groups.”
Research carried out by the Centre has shown that singing is beneficial for overall general wellbeing, as well as having a positive impact upon specific health and mental conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The singing groups were set up to assess the impact singing has upon mental wellbeing and to provide opportunities for people to socially interact, reduce stress and increase self-confidence, fun and enjoyment.
The project found that interaction and peer support offered through the groups helped to clinically improve the participants mental health conditions. Some also experienced an increase in self-worth and self-confidence, an improvement in memory and concentration and a sense of inclusion.
Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Graham Gibbens, said: “Mental health problems can be isolating and depressing so community singing is a great activity for people and helps to challenge stigma and discrimination while reducing fear and ignorance. It’s also a great way of learning a new skill, making new friends and being part of the community.
“We are pleased to be supporting this project as it forms a key part of an integrated service across Kent’s voluntary sector, primary care mental health and social care and includes public health initiatives to ensure there is appropriate, equitable, timely and cost effective interventions for vulnerable people in the community.”
Due to the success of the project the singing groups will now continue to run weekly. For more information about how to attend a group, visit the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health’s webpages on the Canterbury Christ Church University website.
A full report of the project will be available Autumn 2015. You can watch a video of the event here.