The choir tackling mental health stigma


“I think there’s something physical about singing in a choir that does you good,” says Kaye Brown*. “For me it’s coming together, and the wellbeing I feel as a result of it. There’s a general improvement in my mental health. I feel better for singing.”

Brown, who is in her 60s and has a history of depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, has been a member of the HarmonyChoir in Edinburgh since it began over a year ago. The choir was originally started by Liesbeth Tip, a clinical psychologist who is doing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, as a two-month research project to explore the impact of singing on wellbeing and views of mental health. Due to popular demand, it is still going.

Every Monday evening, the choir meets to practise a repertoire of songs – including I Will Survive – led by musical director Ben Jones. It sang at the Edinburgh festival fringe and is due to perform various concerts over the Christmas period. Among its members are people with and without lived experience of mental health problems, as well as healthcare professionals.