It’s ten years since l travelled down to Wells to compere a concert at the Bishop’s Palace which had been organised by local mental health charities to raise money for their work and promoting awareness of mental health issues.
Nest month l will be doing it again. This time at a Grand Charity Concert at Cedars Hall in the grounds of Wells Cathedral School – an educational establishment famous for its musically-talented students.
The hall hosts school concerts and broadcasts and is an extremely acoustically-sound internal platform on which to host another sparkling Mind charity event to raise spirits and cash – but also promote understanding.
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will have to deal with a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem – such as anxiety and depression – in any given week.
It also appears that HOW people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing.
Life is for living, but not everyone can cope in dealing with the pressures that today’s society imposes upon us.
It wasn’t long ago that anyone with relatively minor mental health issues was pretty much institutionalised away from society.
Thankfully, those Dickensian days are over and now 85 per cent of those with mental health conditions never need this degree of support.
However, a majority of those with mental health illness live within the community and lead productive lives with support from local services, like the branches of the national Mind charity, for when they experience times of distress.
The coming concert in Wells is all about promoting the feel good – with a host of talented musicians and voices – but it will also give people a chance to stop and think about the ever-present societal changes and challenges we live with.
I will be joining the stars of a West End musical on the theme of mental health – who will be appearing at the Music for the Mind concert being held in Wells on 15th September.
It’s been organised by the five local Mind Associations in the area around Wells – including Bath Mind which operates through Bath and North East Somerset. Each of them is affiliated to the national Mind but provide independent mental health services, targeted at the needs of the local communities they serve.
Robert S J Lucas and Sherwood Alexander will perform songs from This Is John, which started as an Edinburgh Fringe production and recently completed a successful run at The Other Palace theatre in London.
Writer Robert S J Lucas said the theme of his musical complemented Music for the Mind’s aim of raising awareness of mental health issues.
“This Is John is a comedy-drama about male mental health. It tackles depression and suicide but it’s also about the everyday mechanics of life and the fact that some people are better at dealing with ups and downs than others.
Lucas will accompany singer Sherwood Alexander on piano for two songs: ‘Lemons’ and ‘Man Up / Man Down’.
“‘Lemons’ is an upbeat song about looking at the brighter side of life when things get you down. ‘Man up/man down’ is a bittersweet ballad about the conflicting messages that men are exposed to. People use expressions like ‘man up’ or ‘be a man’, and it can sometimes feel like there’s no one listening,” said Lucas.
The songs will appear on an album of highlights from This Is John, to be released in September. Lucas is also in discussions for a Broadway version of the musical and a film adaptation.
Other performers at Music for the Mind include 22-year-old R&B singer Georgia Box, whose performances on YouTube have gained her a global audience, and the Bath-based Vocal Works Gospel Choir directed by Tim King.
Music for the Mind is being held on Saturday 15th September 2018 at Cedars Hall in Wells.
Tickets are priced from £30 and are available from the Cedars Hall box office:
Do click on the following Youtube link for more information.