Can classical music help alleviate mental health symptoms?

Listening to classical music may help boost mood and alleviate symptoms of mental illness, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), comes as the nation faces one of the greatest mental health crises in recent history.

According to the authors, classical music has provided a “cultural lifeline” to people in isolation, despite concert halls being closed. The study of 2,110 adults found that over half (51 per cent) had enjoyed listening to orchestral music, a significant step up from 22 per cent in 2018.

When asked about the benefits of listening to classical music, a huge 65 per cent of respondents said the genre had a “tangible and lasting positive impact” on their health and lifestyle.

Meanwhile, around one in three (35 per cent) said listening to classical music helped them to relax and “maintain a sense of calmness and wellbeing”, while two in 10 (18 per cent) said the music had “inspired and lifted their spirits during times of worry”.

Additionally, 14 per cent said classical music had helped boost productivity and concentration while the nation works and studies from home.

Commenting on the findings, James Williams, Managing Director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra said: “During these dark days of the pandemic, people all over the country have had to adapt to unprecedented uncertainty and risks and it has been vital for people to stay at home and help the NHS to save lives.

“Orchestral music has tangibly helped people to cope, to adapt and to maintain a relatively positive mindset during the long days of lockdown. Orchestral music – and the arts generally – has enriched lives at a crucial time and, based on this, we believe the arts have an important role to play as attention starts to turn to the lifting of restrictions and rebuilding society.”

The study comes shortly after separate research revealed that four in 10 Brits (40 per cent) were at risk of mental illness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This was majorly attributed to unstable living conditions, loss of employment or income, or poor access to Covid-19 testing.

The latest figures suggest that, on average, around one in four people (25 per cent) in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, with the most common illnesses being anxiety and depression.

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