One of the UK’s leading psychiatrists has said that people who are feeling stressed should consider joining a choir.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely made the announcement in a keynote speech at a recent conference on the subject of mental health among students.
“The risk is not just ineffective solutions, but the real possibility that our solutions may actually be contributing to the problem,” he said, according to Classic FM.
He went on to say: “I would love to see trials of volunteering, peer support, sport, drama, choir and so on – that’s the research I believe we need.”
It’s not the first time that he has criticised mental health initiatives that are offered at universities across the country.
“There are things that aren’t disorders at all that students habitually get – exam stress, loneliness and so on – all of which can be problematic. But we shouldn’t go round automatically saying ‘Oh you have a psychiatric disorder, you need psychiatric or mental health or professional health,” he said to The Telegraph.
“Loneliness is a major problem for the current student population,” Prof Wessely said. “There is quite a lot of evidence that says that the solution may not be to see a counsellor, but it may be to join a choir.”
“If you’re going to raise awareness in order to encourage people to seek professional help, you have to make bloody sure the services are there to deal with it,” he said .
“Otherwise what you do is add to disappointment, frustration and anger of the people with the problems and add to the likely burn out and retirement of people trying to help [such as GPs].”