Singing is an effective mental health intervention
Singing significantly reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety, partly because it increases our levels of “feel good” hormones, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin.
Simultaneously it suppresses our stress hormones, cortisol and cortisone, so we feel less stressed. Singing also reduces aggressive behaviour and improves self-esteem.
This is important in prisons where more than 50% of the population suffer depression and anxiety, self harm is common place and the prevalence of suicide is 4 times that in the general population.
Choir is a powerful way of building social inclusion
People who belong to choirs feel their choir is a more meaningful social group than any other group they belong to outside the family.
Choirs create social bonds seven times faster than other social activities and a strong sense of “belonging”.
This is important for people in prison where more than 25% have been in care, 41% have been excluded from school and most have experienced unemployment poverty and/or addiction.
Practice and Performance builds social skills and confidence. Time can weigh heavy or be used. By practising together every week of the year, relationships and skill develop in tandem. We all commit to coming, to working together and to improving. We focus. We aspire. We learn from each other and by persevering. Performances challenges us and instil confidence. When we perform we rise to the occasion and hear applause. That is motivating and gives us hope.