All, I know this is probably such a silly question to be asking a group that is probably well beyond this challenge... but there is no such thing as a silly question:

Background: Ive been playing guitar for a couple of years now and am excited by what I can play... but my strumming hand just cannot keep rhythm when my mouth opens... Ive just started to break this problem down and now keep a beat with my foot, and then use an overly simplistic strumming pattern (only chorded songs - Knocking on Heavens Door is a good un). Ive started to be able to sing, but its still a challenge.

Can I get some expert advice on how to get past this mental block and start singing whilst I play?

Much Appreciated'

I'm definitely no expert, but I can share how I got through the mental block. I just happened to be in my first band at the time, so naturally we played in a small room where it was way too loud to distinguish much of anything. This gave me the perfect place to practice playing and singing because nobody could hear how terribly I was messing up, and it gave me confidence to keep doing it. It sucked for a while but over time it became easier. Honestly, bottom line, I think it's like anything else, practice makes perfect.
Just keep working on it. It's just like learning chords, eventually it'll get easier.
Listen to how the guitar and vocal parts work together. What notes are sung and played at the same time? Slow it down.

Of course you also need to know the guitar and vocal parts really well. So learn them separately first.
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MaggaraMarine is right. You need to be able to sing the song well to start with or can play it without much effort. For me personally I found a long time ago that I need to be able to do at least one of those two things almost on auto pilot. I find that the playing part comes more easily for me so I just play the song till I can do it without much thought then I can add the vocal and concentrate on the lyrics. I can't "kinda" know how to play a song before I start singing it. It's just repetition. You'll get it.
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I haven't had this problem but I'd say it's practice.. maybe pick very easy songs and build up
you will be able to do it really quick
The guitar part has to be subconscious basically, so you can keep the beat automatically while being freer with the vocal. When you can play a chord progression, and have a conversation at the same time without losing the groove, then you know you've cracked it!
It takes a lot of practice. Like they say: practice until you get it right - and then practice some more until you can't get it wrong.

Start with the guitar part. Really nail that, over and over. And then just start humming along, something roughly like the vocal, but not so as it puts you off the guitar. Humming means not having to think about words, which could distract you - while at the same time it helps you feel how the voice sits with the chords and the rhythm.
yeah you need both parts to be down with the clown or you'll have a major wipeout
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