Music Support, the peer-led music industry charity that provides confidential mental health and addiction services, is leading a new initiative by partnering with 10 UK companies and organisations to train music industry professionals in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).
As it enters its fourth year, Music Support’s traction is testament that mental health and addiction conversations and actions have gained acceptance and uptake across the industry.
In 2018, Music Support began investing in Mental Health First Aid training for internal purposes to support its staff and volunteers, enabling them to build knowledge and continue to act effectively in helping others.
Once the value of this training became clear, it was acknowledged as a vital gateway to equip the industry with a basic level of mental health understanding. The industry is now collectively working hard to confront and develop its approach to the areas of mental health and addiction; this initiative is aimed to address and support that need.
In landmark partnering Music Support will work with The Event Safety Shop (TESS), a live event production safety service; industry charities Help Musicians and The BRIT Trust - the charitable arm of BPI; PLASA, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association; The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF); Production Park, a community of live events businesses and studios; Backstage Academy, a higher education provider specialising in the live events industry; The Production Services Association (PSA) and its benevolent fund, Stage Hand; and Thrive: MentalWellbeing, a new, NHS-endorsed, clinically effective app designed to help people combat stress.
MHFA England is the only organisation in England permitted to provide Mental Health First Aider Instructor Training, licensed by Mental Health First Aid International, the global community that has trained over three million people worldwide, and over 400,000 in England alone.
Music Support’s Matt Thomas, Co-Founder and Chair of Trustees comments: “MHFA training is becoming a priority for businesses across many industries and sectors, both nationally and internationally. We’ve received a lot of support and encouragement from partners about the prospect of Music Support delivering training, and MHFA England is currently campaigning for the Government to put mental and physical health on an even footing. This is gaining traction from politicians and is likely to become an area of statutory responsibility for employers in the future. Now is the time for our industry to get in ahead of the curve.”
Help Musicians has insights that show the life of musicians can be precarious, therefore the charity aims to influence positive change and sustain careers across the sector by promoting musicians’ wellbeing.
Claire Gevaux, Help Musicians Director of Programme says: "We have been working closely with the team at Music Support for the past year and it's exciting to announce this new collaboration which will bring vital resources in the form of Mental Health First Aid training to the sector. We recognised the entrepreneurial approach of Music Support to build a network of Mental Health First Aiders as a step in the right direction towards supporting a safe working environment for musicians so that they thrive in their working lives.
“We’re delighted that our catalytic investment in this training programme has received such collective support from a diverse array of sector partners and that we’ve been able to offer our National Grants Programme funded organisations a more holistic package of support.”
Maggie Crowe OBE, BPI Director of Events & Charities and BRIT Trust Trustee, comments: “Music Support is doing important work to help promote mental wellbeing in our industry, and The BRIT Trust is proud to be supporting this exciting initiative which will not only help to create better awareness and understanding of mental health in the workplace, but will also support the creative environment for future talent."
Music Support’s partners represent a broad cross section of professionals, with backstage and event production crew being under unique pressures.
TESS Director, Simon James, states: “With three decades working in live events, I have too many personal experiences witnessing people suffering with mental health issues without adequate support. We work in a pressured environment and we’re very proud to do what we can in assisting Music Support in bringing empathetic, professional help into the music industry.”
Thomas, concludes: “Ultimately, we’d like this initiative to be an industry-wide adoption of good practice which will significantly improve mental health literacy and the industry’s capacity to prevent and respond.”