Episode 5: Singing for Mental Health

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Link to captioned video:

Show Notes

On episode 5, we welcome Kim Edgar, who is one of the Musical Directors for the Freedom of Mind Community Choir, GP and medical advisor Dr Veronica McBurnie, who founded Singing Health and, Clinical Psychologist, Liesbeth Tip, who is also the chair of Harmony Choir and Co-investigator for Scotland’s Singing for Health Network.

The show is presented by Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, who is Principal Investigator of the Network.

The show is produced and edited by Sophie Boyd.

Below, we have provided links to resources mentioned on the episode.

More details about the Network

Website: https://portal.rcs.ac.uk/scotland-singing-for-health-network/

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaWyYKcfvlqGba_ZEoRgpfw

Get in touch: singing-for-health@rcs.ac.uk

Twitter: @ScotSingHealth

Singing Groups and Organisations supporting Singing for Health mentioned in the episode:

FADMH, Falkirk’s Mental Health Association: https://www.fdamh.org.uk/

Freedom of Mind Choir: https://www.freedomofmindcommunitychoir.com/ / Facebook https://www.facebook.com/freedomofmindcommunitychoir / YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_N4xxJipNNf7K0a_8xi9cQ

Harmony Choir: https://harmonychoir.com/ / YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7lsXjieaxMJzEuTWhDv4Sg

Singing Health: https://www.facebook.com/singinghealth


Singing Side By Side toolkit, https://www.singingsidebyside.co.uk/toolkit


Clift, S. and Morrison, I. (2011) Group singing fosters mental health and wellbeing: findings from the East Kent “singing for health” network project, Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 15: 2, 88-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/20428301111140930

Coulton, S., Clift, S., Skingley, A. and Rodriguez, J. (2015) Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of community singing on mental health-related quality of life of older people: Randomised controlled trial, British Journal of Psychiatry. 207: 3, 250–255, https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.129908

Grebosz-Haring K, Thun-Hohenstein L, Schuchter-Wiegand AK, Irons Y, Bathke A, Phillips K and Clift S (2022) The Need for Robust Critique of Arts and Health Research: Young People, Art Therapy and Mental Health. Front. Psychol. 13:821093, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.821093

Tegan Cruwys, Bridie Stewart, Lisa Buckley, James Gumley, Brett Scholz (2020), The recovery model in chronic mental health: A community-based investigation of social identity processes, Psychiatry Research, 291, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113241.

  1. Alexander Haslam, Catherine Haslam, Tegan Cruwys, Jolanda Jetten, Sarah V. Bentley, Polly Fong, Niklas K. Steffensa (2022) Social identity makes group-based social connection possible: Implications for loneliness and mental health, Current Opinion in Psychology, 43: 161-165, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.07.013.

Jacques Launay and Eiluned Pearce (2015) Choir singing improves health, happiness – and is the perfect icebreaker, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/choir-singing-improves-health-happiness-and-is-the-perfect-icebreaker-47619.

Theodore Stickley (2010) The arts, identity and belonging: A longitudinal study, Arts & Health, 2:1, 23-32, https://doi.org/10.1080/17533010903031614.

Elyse Williams, Genevieve A Dingle, Stephen Clift (2018) A systematic review of mental health and wellbeing outcomes of group singing for adults with a mental health condition, European Journal of Public Health, 28: 6, 1035–1042, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cky115


  1. Harmony in research, University of Edinburgh, https://www.ed.ac.uk/edit-magazine/supplements/harmony-research

Liesbeth Tip (2018), Community singing helps mental health recovery, The Mental Elf, https://www.nationalelfservice.net/populations-and-settings/community-settings/community-singing-helps-mental-health-recovery/.

Other links:

Cornton Vale prison in an under 21s choir project: https://www.kimedgar.com/news/collaboration-2-horse-mcdonald/

The National Elf Service: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/author/liesbeth-tip/

What is singing on prescription?: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5YGsLjztqTnwZx3bCLgRfYL/why-are-some-doctors-prescribing-music-on-the-nhs

More information on Liesbeth Tip’s Harmony Choir projects: Spheres of Singing – HarmonyChoir

Music featured in the episode:

Intro music: Free Over the Fields (ID 1622) by Lobo Loco (licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License)

Outro music: Famba Naye sung by the Dennistoun Cheyne Gang, recorded by Sophie Boyd. Famba Naye is a folk song that comes from Zimbabwe and is sung in the Shona language.  “Famba Naye” means “Stay Well, Go Well” in Shona. As the song is about parting, it is a popular song to be sung at funerals, though it can also be sung in other contexts.