ISBN: 9781909067516

Singing for mental health and wellbeing: findings from West Kent and Medway

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Clift S, Manship S, Stephens L

Year of Publication:

Canterbury Christ Church University

Publication Type:



An earlier study in East Kent of weekly singing for people with enduring mental health issues revealed clinically important improvements in mental wellbeing over a period of ten months. The present study was designed to assess whether the model developed in East Kent could be transferred to West Kent and Medway with similarly positive results.


Four community singing groups were established for people with experience of mental health issues, which ran weekly from November 2014 to the end of 2015. The groups were allowed to establish themselves to ensure stability of attendance before formal evaluation of the project took place over a six-month period from February-July 2015.

Participants completed the short Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation questionnaire, CORE10, a measure of mental distress, and the full Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), a measure of mental wellbeing, at baseline, and then three months and six months later.

Of 47 participants regularly involved in the groups in early 2015, 26 (55%) completed baseline questionnaires in February, and after six months in July.
Qualitative feedback on participants’ experiences of the groups was also gathered through comments on the questionnaire and semi-structured interviews.


Both the CORE10 and WEMWBS showed satisfactory reliabilities across the six-month period with significant negative correlations between the two scales.

Scores on CORE10 significantly reduced over six months indicating reductions in reported mental distress. Scores on the WEMWBS significantly increased showing improved mental wellbeing.

Significant improvements were found on the following CORE items, which signal reduction in specific problems affecting mental health: I have felt tense, anxious or nervous; I have had difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep; I have felt unhappy, and Unwanted images or memories have been distressing me.

Qualitative feedback from participants was strongly consistent with the quantitative findings and gives further insights into participants’ mental health challenges and how regular singing helped ameliorate them.


The current study replicates the earlier findings from the East Kent project and shows that regular group singing is associated with reductions in mental distress and increased mental wellbeing.


Main Focus: Mental Health

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Specific Mental Health Condition

Art Forms: Music

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Clift, S., Manship, S. and Stephens, L. (2015). Singing for mental health and wellbeing: findings from West Kent and Medway. Research Report. UK: Canterbury Christ Church University.