November 18, 2010
Singing together for Aboriginal mental health
Indigenous Australians are five times more likely to experience mental illness than the rest of the population - a problem often exacerbated by their reluctance to seek help. Now a new program's been developed to tackle mental health issues through song.
Queensland's Aboriginal and Islander Health Council has set up five community choirs to attack the symptoms of mental illness and bring sufferers into contact with health professionals. The scheme has been given a helping hand by Indigenous country and western star Roger Knox, who himself overcame crippling depression and an addiction to painkillers.
The singing groups are all part of Voices United for Harmony, an innovative program aimed at improving the mental and physical health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in SE Queensland.
The Voices United project will be evaluated by Griffith University Senior Lecturer, Dr Jing Sun, to determine the benefits of choral singing on the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the five communities participating.
Dr Jing Sun said evaluating the project was critical in developing effective programs dealing with mental health. “Our aim is to investigate whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in the singing groups will improve their quality of life and mental health through promotion of sense of resilience and social participation,” she said.
“Singing can release stress and increase social interaction and this in turn is very beneficial in preventing mental illness or reducing the severity of symptoms of those already suffering from a mental illness” said Dr Jing Sun.
Posted by acapnews at November 18, 2010 9:35 PM