How the Bee Vocal choir had their voices heard by city’s key decision-makers during Mental Health Awareness Week
“It has helped me re-gain the value of life.”
“Before, I didn’t want to leave the house and I didn’t feel like I wanted to go out even with friends or family.”
“It brought unexpected joy to my life.”
These are just some of the views from members of Manchester’s Mental Health Choir – Bee vocal – heard today through a film shown today (Wednesday 16 May) at Manchester’s annual council meeting.
In the film, feedback was read out on behalf of the singers by Coronation Street actor Cherlyee Houston, who is also a founder of Triple C, the theatre group behind the start of the choir working with choirmaster Dan McDwyer.
The filmed feedback gave a powerful voice to the choir members, who were able to explain to the meeting how the choir, which started just six over two months ago – had helped with self-confidence and finding strength in a common purpose. The film also helped with evaluation of the project, which has been supported by the council and the NHS in Manchester.
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “It was incredibly moving to hear how these weekly meetings have not only helped with anxiety and depression, but have also given some members the boost they needed to go out again or even apply for jobs.
“We wanted to listen to this feedback because it helps us to know how people feel and what they find works well to improve their health and wellbeing across the city. It’s even more relevant that we hear this during Mental Health Awareness Week.”
The choir - which meets weekly – also has psychological support on hand and the wellbeing results from the project are evaluated via a series of questionnaires.
The Manchester Mental Health Choir will be one of the choirs performing on May 22 when Manchester remembers all those affected by the Arena attack a year ago.
Choir founder Cherylee Houston, made history by becoming Coronation Street’s first disabled actress playing wheelchair user Izzy Armstrong.