Music Support provides a range of mental health first aid courses delivered by an instructor, qualified by Mental Health First Aid England. These courses are aimed at raising awareness of mental illness within the industry, enabling people to support themselves and others to aid recovery.

Read more real life stories about how our mental health first aid courses have helped in the workplace and daily life. 

My name is Kayleigh McLaughlan. I am a label manager for Limbo records at 23rd Precinct Music, and I have worked there for 4 years. I am also an artist manager and event coordinator for Resonate Music Conference.

On a day-to-day basis I work with different Glasgow-based artists.  Normally I would be in and out of the office at meetings or gigs, the usual music business agenda. Since lockdown I have been at home and it is all about trying to communicate with all of those same people but from my desk at home.  I also used to work at concerts as a box office manager.  Life was very busy.  Always working.  Always meeting new people.  Unfortunately, lockdown has changed all of that.  It is just finding new [imaginative] ways to keep in touch with important people and make sure everyone is alright.

I have also had to get a weekend delivery job just to keep me going during this challenging time generating income from my usual work.

 

Why did you do the course?

I found out about MHFA and Music Support through Help Musicians and was part of an open course that took place last August.  I am glad that we were still able to do that online while lockdown was happening.  The course was a really great experience.

In my line of work you are always meeting new artists, building relationships with people in the music industry.  It is very relationship-based work, so knowing how to conduct yourself and knowing more about mental health and how to help artists is essential.  The training has definitely helped in that sense.

There are probably a few instances in the past, with bands I have looked after, where I thought it would have been beneficial if I knew more and had a better understanding about certain aspects concerning mental health.

I approached the course from the perspective of how I, as an artist manager, can better support band members who are in the bands that I am looking after.

 

What was your experience like on the course?

We [course participants] were all based in Glasgow and part of the music industry, so I actually knew a couple of people in attendance.  It was good because we all came from similar backgrounds and different parts of the business.  There was another artist manager, someone from Scottish Music Centre and also Help Musicians.  It was a good group of people to work with.   I am quite happy and confident to talk openly with other people, so I enjoyed the aspect of learning with others.

 

What did you learn?  Has the course changed your approach in any way?

I was particularly interested in the kind of language used that is helpful or unhelpful when discussing mental health.  [The course] also gave me an insight into areas I knew very little about like personality disorders and eating disorders.

I found it was particularly useful talking about stress, anxiety, and the depression side of things which I am more aware of.   Finding out more about those areas was invaluable to me because I know people who live with depression and anxiety.

I have also personally been affected by anxiety, so I was slightly nervous about approaching that particular session when we covered the topic.   Although it was one of the more challenging parts of the course for me, the session went fine, and I am glad I completed it.

 

What tools have you used the most?  What kind of impact has the training had on you professionally?

The ALGEE acronym (Access, Listen, Give re-assurance, Encourage appropriate professional help, and Encourage self-help and other support strategies) we use to remember how best to approach a situation.

Practicing non-judgemental listening has probably been the most beneficial thing for me.  Non-judgemental listening is so much more valuable than you think it is.  I guess I have used it even more in daily personal life with supporting family than work during lockdown.  I think it has been invaluable [both personally and professionally].

I have been chatting a lot with one musician during lockdown.   I think we really got somewhere with that by me taking the time to listen to them talk about stuff.  It seemed to just lift the pressure off.  The musician I was speaking to had sought help prior to our conversations.  I think it was more a comfort [and reaffirming] just to talk to somebody else.

I have also used [the training] in the office setting at work with colleagues.

 

What did you learn?  Has the course changed your approach in any way?

The course was invaluable for me in terms of approaching situations or having that positive attitude to things.  Knowing some useful things, you can say rather than being in those situations and not really knowing what to say or do.

At work it is about how you communicate with people.  You do not always have to give advice.  Just being there and being willing to listen, trying to understand what their situation can be a support for someone.

I would say that the course has helped me personally more that anything in terms of supporting family members through being able to talk and listen to them.  It has helped me and because of that I have been able to help others.

 

What are your hopes and aspirations in this area of your work going forward?

I would like to further develop the skills and do some other mental health related courses. I found it very interesting in terms of how mental health affects musicians, artists, and music businesspeople.

We run Resonate Music Conference and work closely with Help Musicians on delivering the event.  Some of the panels and talks that they do about helping to support artist with mental health are really interesting and I might see if I can get more involved with that.

Learning about mental health is not something that you should ever stop educating yourself about.  I would definitely like to have a role within music helping someone in that sense.

This experience has been helpful for my career and personal life.