Insightful Songs: Choir sings to raise awareness of mental health issues
Published Sunday, October 13, 2013 2:57PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:45PM EDT
Mental health issues are often difficult to talk about – but a local group is not only speaking out about them, they’re singing.
MusiArt, a McGill-associated choir group gathers weekly for rehearsals at the Montreal General Hospital, with the goal of allowing members to express themselves, and help the public understand difficulties faced by those coping with mental illness.
The choir was co-founded by psychologist Dr. Marie-France Boudreault, who wanted to establish a safe space for her clients to express themselves.
“We noticed that people really like to sing,” Boudreault said. “It's very difficult to get into choirs, you know, you have to audition and we thought like – ‘Hey what about if we start singing?’”
It wasn’t long before the group began taking its performances public, in hopes of raising awareness of the struggles and difficulties faced by those living with mental illnesses.
This fall marks the choir’s 15th year in existence.
The group released its first album in 2008, called “Confidences…in confidence,” and has won several awards since it started up in 1998.
While the choir serves the public by presenting them with valuable insight, it also serves healing purposes to those involved.
"It's a release, you know -- it's a release, a blessing," said Neils Foucault, of his experience singing in the choir.
Fellow singer Eleanor Cohen says the group has been a supportive pillar for her to lean on during trying times.
“I've had suicidal thoughts and when I'm part of the choir and I sing I tend to forget those thoughts,” she explained—adding with a laugh that singing with the group is even better than seeing a psychiatrist.