Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental health condition, according to the United Nations. An estimated one in four people globally will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Almost one million people die due to suicide every year. We are experiencing a pandemic of loneliness and isolation.
This year’s World Singing Day (WSD) will highlight the importance of mental health as people around the world enjoy and connect by singing together in their communities on Saturday, October 21, 2023. This year’s WSD Song-of-the-Year that everyone is invited to sing, is “Lean On Me,” fitting for this year’s focus.
Studies have shown that feelings of depression and loneliness lessen when singing with others. Endorphins, a hormone that is released by singing, is associated with feelings of pleasure. Oxytocin is also released while singing, which can alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding.
“Every day from the media, we see stories of what’s wrong with the world,” says WSD founder Scott Johnson. “It’s stressful and depressing. Yes, there are problems but there are a lot more things going right. Our focus on the worst of humanity often disconnects us from one another and blinds us to the fact that we’re all part of a global family sharing the same planet, doing the best we can.”
Founded by Johnson in 2012, WSD invites people around the world to share a positive human experience by singing together. “Unlike politics and religion,” says Johnson, “music has the unique power to bring people together of all ages and backgrounds. And it just feels good.”
Participation on Oct. 21, 2023 can range from singing with friends and family in pubs, parks and homes, to singing with the whole community in the center of town. In Boulder, Colorado, for instance, over a thousand people gather downtown and sing along to the original recordings of songs, from the Beatles to Katy Perry. Lyric booklets are provided.
“Singing makes you feel good,” says Johnson. “And singing with others makes you feel less lonely and more part of the community. As Earth, Wind, and Fire sang: ‘Sing a song, it’ll make your day.’”
To join an existing WSD event, host your own, or sing the WSD Song-of-the-Year, visit www.WorldSingingDay.org.