Community singing improves mental health in older people - study

A research study of the impact of a community singing programme on a group of over-60s in Kent has found evidence of a positive impact on the mental health of participants.

The study, which involved 258 participants, was designed to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of community group singing for a population of older people in England.

According to the authors:

'As the population ages, older people account for a greater proportion of the health and social care budget. Whereas some research has been conducted on the use of music therapy for specific clinical populations, little rigorous research has been conducted looking at the value of community singing on the mental health-related quality of life of older people.'

The controlled trial compared group singing with usual activities in those aged 60 years or more.

The report, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, concludes that:

'Community group singing appears to have a significant effect on mental health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression, and it may be a useful intervention to maintain and enhance the mental health of older people.'