Category: Mental Health

The Get in -June 2021

This month’s video I take a break from the project and focus a little on an event in November that aims to raise money for the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, you can click here to view that. Click here to view
As I write this email, we are all awaiting the final decision about how the UK Government will move forward with their road map to reopen the country with these COVID variations around.
The Impact of Volunteers
Many arts organisation are all set to welcome back their visitors after many venues have spent more than a year in the dark.
This closure will have had a huge impact on volunteers and volunteering, not just to organisations but individual too. This whole idea of serving your community without anything in return is beneficial physically, mentally and socially.
For those organisation who have been lucky enough to bring volunteers back after the lock downs and have been able to increase their force, are the organisations that understand the true value of serving.
Community Spirit on 7th August is about serving and volunteering, as well as giving organisations across the spectrum the opportunity to reach out and meet new potential volunteers. It also gives the opportunity for local organisation to find ways to collaborate in supporting each other when it comes to the locals volunteering. If you would like to volunteer at the Bridgwater Community Spirit please click here.
Community Spirit – The Main Event
Community Spirit is designed as an event that can be put together anywhere at short notice, as it involves as many people as want to get involved.
The welcoming of local businesses to be able to be present to meet new potently clients gives reason for funding as well as the boost to the local economy should encourage local councils to be involved.
But there is a benefit to all those who get involved, businesses, organisations, volunteers and councils. More information on my website, link at the bottom of the email.
2025 Trust Fund – The Emergency Fund
Whilst the 2025 Trust Fund is first and foremost a grant fund it will also be an emergency fund for the industry in times like of closure during this current pandemic.
There will be a set procedure for the board to activate the fund into an emergency fund, which will potentially stop all grants until further notice.
How it works as an emergency fund and what criteria is needed for it to become such, will be for the first Board of Trustees to decide. Click here to donate to fund.
Theatre Through the Years – 1918 Pandemic
The Spanish Influenza saw 50 million deaths worldwide, but very much like the current pandemic government initially leaving the decision to close venues down to management, but there was closure order put in place.
Where venues decided to keep their doors open it was rare to find any precautions were in place. Actors, musician and crew would suddenly become ill during performances. Only in Shews bury did venues close their doors after reporting 24 deaths.
So when coronavirus hits in 2020 the industry wonders why the hash restrictions are put in place. But I wonder how many actors saw opportunity for jobs in training for places for care homes or supporting public health messages?
It’s like I have said before, the industry is in all ways a public service. So learning there is a time to do what we want to do, the big West End show or the small art exhibition. But we also need to understand that there are times when we need to support others, especially on the large scale.
Get Involved
Don’t forget you to visit the website, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, but most importantly just get involved. I have recently sent out invites to join Community Spirit, volunteer, financially or just being a part of.  Come and join us as we create, The Greatest Show on Earth! If you are a media outlet and would like to pick up on anything in these emails or on the website, then please do feel free to contact me via: If you know someone who would like to join the mailing list please get them to email me using the address at the bottom of the page.

Mental Health in the Arts

It’s so good to see that mental health in the arts is finally making its way up the industry’s agenda. Across the social spectrum as well there are so many organisations and a campaign trying to break the stigma that surrounds what is often a delicate and sensitive issue.

I briefly touched on this in June 2018 as I write about GPs in Wales putting the arts ‘on prescription’. You can read that post here. But with an ever increasing strain on an underfunded health service by a government that has put money higher on their agenda then the people they serve, it quickly becomes apparent that industries need to find ways to look after their own.

Mental health is so important, it can either make or break a person whatever industry they are in. The creative arts are one of those industries that can be very isolating at times especially in the current economic climate where jobs are not guaranteed, and almost by irony the same creative industry can be a help.

So wouldn’t it be good if venues themselves had an in house service or at least someone that staff, cast and crew could all use whether they are resident or not. I am not saying that each theatre needs to employ a specialised doctor and councillor, but just have appointed resident staff that have the appropriate training and can be available.

Wiltshire Creative has published a guide for venues to use when working with artists with Mental Health Problems: Click here to see guide.

The guide lays out exactly what Mental Health is and how it sits within the UK laws and regulations. It also gives a list of charities and organisations that can be of help, as well as recommending the ‘Mental Health First Aid’ Course which is very quickly becoming widely available across the UK.

As a venue or theatre having this information is so important, you may not be able to deal with the immediate situation, but you should be able to support an individual by being able to point people in the right direction and that can only be effective by having the right contacts.

We are not just looking to make theatre accessible to more artist, we need to be open a wider audience. How about becoming an autistic friendly theatre? While autism is not a mental health problem statics have shown that those with autism are at a high risk of having mental health issues.

A lot of venues are now creating ‘safe spaces’ for those with dementia, while this again is not a mental health problem, those who care for loved ones with the disease can feel isolated, and it is this feeling that can lead to mental health problems.

Opening your venue to become a hub for individuals with mental health issues to use the creative arts as a means of support, while allowing them to socialise and gain confidence in a safe environment. Of course nobody is expecting a creative team to organise a support day or group as experts in dealing with mental health issues, but by taking the advice of Wiltshire Creative about building those contact of organisations that can support that is the first step for a venue when it comes to stamping out the stigma surround mental health.

Remember any charity or organisation will be more than happy to help and support a venue that wishes to reach a wider audience while supporting those artists who work for them. If any industry can be the driving force behind removing stigma about anything in society the arts can, but first they must lend that support to their own.