Music for the Mind: Get involved to raise funds and awareness

Music for the Mind is a fundraising initiative in aid of local Mind charities conceived by Richard Lowe, who runs a local training company. Richard’s brother, James, took his own life following a period of mental ill health, before his untimely death, aged just 30 years old. Music for the Mind has two goals: to raise much-needed funds and to raise mental health awareness.

Says Richard: “When I look back, I believe James was concerned about the stigma that can often be associated with those suffering from mental health conditions which is why it’s so important to encourage greater understanding. It’s my hope that Music for the Mind will continue to help fund local mental health services, community and business education to support those experiencing emotional distress and mental health issues.”

For Richard, this twentieth commemorative year will be just as meaningful as his inaugural Music for the Mind initiative from 2008. “Back then, I wanted to volunteer my skills to do something positive to remember James and raise mental health awareness. The vision, ten years on, is to build on the original concept and inspire others to organise their own Music for the Mind fundraising event,” he says.

Local Mind charities provide practical support and advice for local communities and employers and it’s hoped that businesses and individuals will affiliate with Music for the Mind, to stage an array of musical extravaganzas across Bristol, Bath and South Somerset as organisers, volunteers or sponsors.

According to Mind, one in four people in the UK experiences a mental health problem every year. While that number has not changed significantly over time, new evidence suggests it’s getting harder for sufferers to cope. Research published in 2016 revealed that the numbers of both men and women who reported self-harming, or having suicidal thoughts, has increased in recent years. The survey of 16-74 year olds was carried out by NatCen Social Research and the University of Leicester.

With mental health services likely to face increased demand, provision of those services faces an uncertain future. The majority of care — about 80 per cent — is provided by mental health trusts. According to research published in 2016 by The King’s Fund, an independent charity, funding for mental health services for adults fell in 2011/12. Four years later, 40 per cent of mental health trusts were still experiencing year-on-year cuts to their income.

To get involved, contact participating Mind charities or download a Music for the Mind fundraising pack from Richard’s own fundraising concert will be held on Saturday 15th September, kindly hosted at the award-winning Cedars Hall concert venue in the historic cathedral City of Wells, and supported by local volunteers. The concert will feature the stunning performers of Bath-based Vocal Works Gospel Choir who will take to the stage, backing an ensemble of musical talent. The full line-up of performers will be announced closer to the date. To enquire or book tickets call Tel: 01749 834483 or email: [email protected]