The programme was designed by the Tonic Music for Mental Health charity (launched in 2012) to support musicians through the pandemic and beyond. Its launch was announced by Terry Hall of The Specials and Barry Ashworth of Dub Pistols.
Psychotherapist Adam Ficek will deliver support via virtual groups which he says are a ‘free, safe space to be heard and supported.’ The programme will also provide digital workshops for Performance Anxiety, ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy), Mindfulness, Emotional Coping Skills, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, suicide prevention education, and a selection of guides and resources for advice and support on anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Terry Hall and Barry Ashworth have opened up about their experiences with mental health struggles through the pandemic. Terry with his own struggles and Barry has lost friends by suicide since the pandemic and says “The Tonic Rider is providing much needed mental health support remotely to venues and the rest of the community. With the music industry on its knees, it is needed now more than ever.”
Tonic Rider will be working virtually with venues, such 100 Club in London and Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, and many others across the UK through the pandemic. The programme will be eventually rolled out physically to green rooms, festivals and Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) members, with the aim to include the Tonic Rider on all rider lists, venue posters and via ‘Tonic Hubs’ at partner live events. Tonic Rider also launches a research study led by Jeordie Shenton (PhD researcher, Goldsmiths) and Adam Ficek (Psychotherapist, DPsych researcher) into the mental health of music industry professionals, to inform ongoing preventative work and support services.
Steph Langan, Tonic Music for Mental Health CEO added “Given the current crisis within every area of the music industry, but especially the struggling live sector, we are pleased to bring together our experts to launch Tonic Rider digital support programme, as well as the research study at this time. Providing free, remote support to musicians and venues will allow us to reach the people who need our support the most at this time of great uncertainty and change.