We caught up with the co-founders, Julie Hawk and Joanna Bain, about what we can expect on the night, and why they felt compelled to make mental health the subject of the next event:
“Mental health is a thread that has run through all of our events even though we’ve never tackled it head-on. We’ve talked about releasing music, creating assets, promotion, funding a project, etc, but in exploring those practical realities of establishing and sustaining a career in the industry, the conversation is always underpinned to some extent by the mental health implications, and the importance of prioritising well-being in the face of the numerous challenges facing DIY musicians. We thought it was about time we gave this topic its own space.
"All aspects of getting a project off the ground require a huge amount of self-belief, motivation and determination in an industry that depends hugely on public opinion for an artist to progress. We feel that this puts artists in a very vulnerable position in terms of managing their mental health, and sadly, it’s something that many artists seem to experience in isolation. But we’ve also seen how positive it can be to get in a room and discover that other artists have been through the same challenges as yourself.
"We’re hoping the event will build on work done by amazing initiatives like First Fortnight to lift the stigma of talking about mental health challenges and to create a safe space for artists to share practical advice through their own experiences. We know how much artists and the audience have taken from our previous sessions, and we really hope people get the benefit of that open dialogue on the night.
"For the first time ever, we’re working alongside a mental health specialist on this event. We thought it was really important to get that perspective this around, and are delighted to be joined by Aoife Ruth, who is a musician, BIMM lecturer and practicing psychotherapist. She'll be running the afternoon workshop with Caoimhe Barry from Wyvern Lingo, looking at the ‘Inner Critic’ – how to recognise negative self-perception, and practical ways to process these thought patterns rather than be bogged down by them. That afternoon session is sold out, which shows us how much of an appetite there is for that conversation.
"For the evening session, we’ve got a fantastic line-up of panelists, including Aoife and Caoimhe, along with Maria Kelly, Paddy Hanna, and Michael Pope of Le Galaxie. All these artists have been vocal about their own mental health challenges in their careers from dealing with anxiety, to the pressure of touring, and self-doubt in the creative process. They’ve all been working to normalise the conversation about mental health and we want anyone in the audience on May 25th to walk away feeling like they can do the same, and most importantly, feeling understood, or that they aren't the only one feeling these pressures.
"We also can't wait to hear from our panel host, Louise Bruton, who is herself an activist as well as a journalist and DJ - she's so well placed to lead the discussion.
Self Made's 'Mind YourSelf: Mental Health and Music' takes place on 25 May. Tickets can be purchased here.