Choir singers help spread Christmas cheer to those in managed isolation

We all know singing is good for the soul but studies have shown it's great for your mental health too. 

Now, an Auckland woman who says singing saved her is using her voice to spread joy - and she wants more to join her. 

Melonie Roberts loves to sing, especially with lots of people.

The mother-of-two runs Everybody Sings, an Auckland community choir group focused on bringing people together. But inspiration for the group came from feeling alone. 

"Singing in a choir is like singing in a team - and without sound for me it'd be a miserable life," she says. 

She'd just had her first child and was suffering from postnatal depression.  

"After having her, I felt really quite down [with] anxiety, I didn't want to go outside, [I was] really very much in a dark place."

It wasn't until her husband encouraged her to join a choir that she began to find herself again.

"I wasn't in that space in that time to sing but he encouraged me to do it and I'm glad that I did, because it got me out of being a mum for two hours, I was going back to myself as I was," says Roberts.

And research shows she's not alone.

Singing in a group has been proven to make people feel better.  

Studies have found it also boosts levels of oxytocin, helping to control stress and anxiety.

Dr Rebecca Starr joined the choir seven years ago, and often recommends it to her patients. 

"Some of them have done it and had real benefit with their mental health, so again [it's] making connections… reducing your anxiety levels and it does reduce levels of depression," she says.  

This year the choir is hoping to share those benefits and spread a bit of Christmas cheer to those in managed isolation - lifting the spirits of those locked up for Christmas.