Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health: East Kent "Singing for Health" Network Project


The De Haan Centre has developed and evaluated an innovative community singing initiative involving people with a history of severe and enduring mental health problems and professional and family supporters. A network of seven singing groups was established between September 2009 and June 2010 in towns across East Kent, UK.

The choirs met weekly in three terms with breaks for Christmas and Easter, and joined together for two public performances in February and June 2010. The five choir facilitators met regularly to agree repertoire and a common approach to weekly sessions. In total 137 participants were involved in the evaluation as the choirs recruited new members. Forty-two participants provided complete data on the ‘Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation’ questionnaire (CORE) at baseline and eight months later.

CORE is a measure of mental distress widely within mental health services in the UK. It has excellent reliability and validity, with individuals scoring 10 or above (out of a total of 40) regarded as clinically ‘unwell’ and a reduction of five points reflecting a ‘clinically significant’ change. Statistically significant improvements were observed in CORE scores overall, with a reduction in means from 9.43 to 6.85. Twelve out of 42 participants showed clinically significant improvements of five points or more. These changes together with qualitative feedback from participants, demonstrate that group singing can have substantial benefits in aiding the recovery of people with mental health problems.

A film of the combined choirs can be seen on:

For more information, please contact Prof. Stephen Clift,

For details of the De Haan Centre’s current research programme visit:


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