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MPs to sing for mental health awareness in the House of Commons
Added: 26th Oct 2017

MPs are being gathered together to sing in Parliament for mental health awareness on Monday, 30th October. 

The SING4SANE initiative created by singer-songwriter Melissa James, sees James stage “pop-up” performances with a random anyone-is-welcome-to-join public choir alongside her. This she does to unite those with an understanding of mental ill health and to foster talk of developing more sound mind health.

The Parliamentary Big Sing aims to demonstrate the power of collective singing for better mind health and wellbeing. The event is hosted by Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health. Former Shadow Mental Health Minister Luciana Berger MP, also supports the event which is to include a Big Sing of Live Again, a song written by James.

Last summer, members of the public joined James in a Big Sing at London’s celebrated RAK Studios. The recorded single, Live Again, sees all sale proceeds go to the mental health charity SANE.

James, herself an independent artist says: “The pressures of the music industry, combined with the desire to be a working artist, are often at odds with each other. I constantly question whether agreeing to particular performances, or keeping-up with demands of social media posts, are really necessary if I am not fully stable and am not feeling mentally well. It does mean making sacrifices, which in turn can lead to feelings of guilt and uncertainty about your abilities as an artist and performer. The difficulty in feeling unable to speak about it doesn’t help. Singing with others who understand does somehow help to silently ease the pressure.”

Ben Pearce - a prominent dance music producer/DJ who has been strongly advocated by Pete Tong - will share his personal struggle with Parliamentarians. Pearce is to explain how a change from callcentre worker to a quick rise to prominence with a rigorous world touring schedule led to a testing struggle to stay mentally balanced. His sell-out shows only added pressure to his severe stage anxiety and depression.

Says Pearce: "This isn't talked about enough in music. If you are struggling there are people to speak to, there is help out there, it can be beaten."

Marjorie Wallace, founder and chief executive of SANE, says: “It’s fantastic that Melissa has created this event to bring the SING4SANE initiative to this important audience. Singing can set the mind and spirit free, and help people who experience mental health problems.”

Live Again is planned for re-release in early November. It will be available to download via i-Tunes, Google Play and Amazon and other online music retailers.

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