Rachel set up the Centre for Mental Health in the Music Industry in September 2020. It is based in Stockport in Greater Manchester, an area with a strong musical heritage. It is the home of the once wonderful strawberry studios and the band, Blossoms. She is a woman not afraid of challenge, setting up a business in the middle of a pandemic that has affected the creative industries at its very roots. We had a joyous conversation, and I learnt much about her motivation and drive. Rachel left school, and home, at 18 to follow a dream of a musical career, when many of her friends were following a more conventional route of university. She was offered a place at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and took up the opportunity along with seeking session work and work with bands. Rachel knows, first hand, the constant rejection of auditions and the joy of sometimes getting the part. We talked about the toll that this can take on a musician’s mental health.
“It’s the cycle of rejection, maintaining motivation as to why keep going and then the amazing success that can lead to guilt “
She acknowledges that she probably took risks about when and where she met people in her fight to get work. This experience has given her an understanding of the music industry, the pitfalls and the positives so that her clients don’t have to explain and can more more quickly into the therapeutic process. She acknowledges her own history of depression and says that this helps her know what her clients are feeling. She saw first hand how the pressures of the industry can lead to excesses with drugs and alcohol. Rachel found a gap in available services when she needed help herself, and is helping to address this need with her innovation. It struck me when she said
“Musicians don’t have a choice not to do what they do”
She has two children and is doing a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy practice. Her academic work so far, has looked at the effect of COVID 19 and how it has affected the music industry. We both talked about how we were missing being on stage and behind a microphone. She misses singing, professionally, on a regular basis.
Rachel offers a range of services, all online at the moment. She provides therapy, supervision, and training, including workshops for students in the creative arts. Sessions in conflict resolution are on offer for bands helping them to find a way forward, whatever that might be. Helping bands to explore their options has proved particularly helpful with her clients. She also works with clients to debrief after a critical incident. Couples work is also part of the service.
Finally, I asked Rachel if she had anything she would like to say to the readers of Joyzine.
“Remember that you are not alone, there is always someone there to offer support. Be kind to yourself, and remember that we adapt to our situation.”