Launching Minding Creative Minds (MCM)

June 3, 2020

In a first of its kind for Ireland’s creative sector, Minding Creative Minds (MCM), a free 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector, delivered by Spectrum Life, was launched this week.

The initial phase of Minding Creative Minds, a free 24/7 Wellbeing and support programme goes live for musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production crew.  MCM is a Mental Wellbeing Support Programme and includes access to the following wellbeing services:

  •       24/7 Dedicated Phone Line (Phone 1800 814 244) (Calling from NI – 0800 0903677)
  •       Counselling Service (Short term intervention / Up to 6 Sessions)
  •       Telephone Counselling 
  •       Secure Video Counselling
  •       Extensive Web Portal & App enabling live chat function with a counsellor                           

In addition to the mental health support system offered, Minding Creative Minds looks at the whole individual resulting in the programme also offering access to a number of additional services structured to help users with various issues they may face such as:

  • Advice on practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress
  • Legal assistance for a range of issues
  • Financial assistance and consumer advice
  • Career guidance and life coaching
  • Support for non-Irish nationals and their families
  • Mediation for conflict resolution

Originally it was intended to launch the Minding Creative Minds 24/7 Mental Wellbeing programme later this summer.  However, in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic the launch date was brought forward to June 2nd as the current pandemic is having a devastating impact on the music sector. Live work has been decimated and as a result income for many independent artists and their crews has stopped without notice. This programme is open to musicians, songwriters, artist managers & event production crew in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Approximately 20,000 people in the music sector in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) are eligible to access these services.

Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is the brainchild of David Reid who is the Co-founder & organiser of the RTE Choice Music Prize and has been a board member and project manager with First Fortnight a charity which challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action since 2010. David also holds an MA in Psychotherapy.

Speaking of the launch, David said, ”We are delighted to launch this critical support programme that will give musicians, songwriters, artist managers & event production crew the opportunity to mind their mental wellbeing and be able to contact qualified counsellors and experts in different fields such as financial planning, legal and career matters enabling expert advice and helping to manage personal issues they might be facing. Working in collaboration with our partner organisations we can now provide a credible support structure for this sector. We look forward to extending this programme within the Irish music Industry and to enable this service to be available to the entire Irish Creative Community in due course.”

Minding Creative Minds is Funded by:

  • First Fortnight (Lead Partner)
  • IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation)
  • IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association)
  • RAAP (Recorded Artists, Actors & Performers)
  • Universal Music Ireland
  • The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland)
  • The RTE Choice Music Prize

The Minding Creative Minds programme partner is Spectrum Life. Spectrum Life has a network of 480 counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists and also provides EAP services for companies like Vodafone, Amazon, and Laya Healthcare.

Last year First Fortnight conducted a comprehensive survey (1391 respondents) amongst the music & creative community in relation to mental health and the responses were stark and align with worldwide research. 91% of respondents said that they had experienced anxiety/depression/mental ill health and 95% said that there was a need for a dedicated mental wellbeing support programme for members of the Irish Music & Creative Community.

“As musicians and writers, we have always been susceptible to the stresses and strains that are part and parcel of the challenging environment that we call the music industry, but never before have we faced the level of uncertainty that is now before us.  Creative people, by our nature, have a particular set of pressures that are specific to our work and our nature. This comprehensive programme is specifically designed to cater for these issues.  I have no doubt that this initiative will save lives.” –  Eleanor McEvoy, IMRO Chairperson.

“If ever there was a right time to offer support to people affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic that time is now. We at the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) are helping to fund this great Mental Health initiative ‘Minding Creative Minds’ and we hope it will assist people in the music Industry to deal with the issues of mental wellbeing.” Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of IRMA.

“Musicians and members of the creative sector, with their particular professional pressures and community standing, are likely to be experiencing both good and bad days – there may be moments of clarity alongside moments when it all feels too much. ‘Minding Creative Minds’ is here to provide you with the support you need at the time you need it. Launching on June 2nd, ‘Minding Creative Minds’ is an independent, confidential, complimentary mental health support that is accessible to members of the music sector and their dependants across Ireland, at any time of the day or night. We hope that knowing this support is here for you gives you some solace on both the good and bad days which may lie ahead.” Emelina Ellis, Clinical Lead Spectrum Life.

An advisory panel assembled to help make this programme a reality includes the following industry specialists; Ken Allen, Manager of James Vincent McMorrow & IRMA Board Member, Lynne Best, Board Member Oh Yeah  Music Centre, Belfast, Bressie, Artist & Co-Founder A Lust for Life,  Louize Carroll, Artist & Occupational Psychologist, Emma Matthews, Board Member First Fortnight, Alan McEvoy, Music & Entertainment Accountant, Eleanor McEvoy, Artist / Chairperson of IMRO, Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist, Emma Olohan, Fundraising & Sponsorship Executive, Willie Ryan, Music & Media Lawyer Aoife Ruth, Psychotherapist, Educator & Researcher, Gary Sheehan, Head of Programming NCH, Ann Marie Shields, Head of Careers, Industry & Events BIMM College, Jack Williamson, Founder & CEO Music And You.

Minding Creative Minds (MCM) was launched on RTÉ 2FM this week with a series of promos and interviews about Minding Creative Minds due to run across the channel in the coming weeks.  Dan Healy, Station Head at 2FM said: “2FM is the ideal platform to get this important message to the many musicians and young industry professionals who need to know about it. We’re proud to be able to get involved.

‘Minding Creative Minds’ offers the following wellbeing services to Irish Musicians, Songwriters, Artist Managers & Event Production Crew:

·        24/7 Dedicated Phone Line:    

Access to experienced team of trained counsellors and psychotherapists who can offer short-term intervention and advice covering practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress.                                                                       

(When a caller contacts ‘Minding Creative Minds’ they will immediately be speaking to an accredited counsellor or psychotherapist who will become the caller’s Case Manager)

24/7 Helpline number:  Phone 1800 814 244 (Calling from NI – 0800 0903677)

International Number – 00353 1 518 0277

·        Counselling Service (Short term intervention / Up to 6 Sessions):

This includes face to face counselling video or telephone counselling. Important to note video and telephone counselling are only available at the moment due to current public health restrictions. If an individual is referred on for video counselling by their case manager, they will be provided with a link to access live video conferencing with their counsellor (separate to the ‘Minding Creative Minds’ wellbeing portal)

·        Advanced Counselling / Psychology Services:

If an individual presents with a Mental Health difficulty that is not suitable for short term intervention the Case Manager can discuss with the user the most appropriate care pathway to support their presenting issue, this may entail more long term treatment or GP referral.

·        Extensive web portal & App / Live online Chat feature

The ‘Minding Creative Minds’ Platform & App enables a live chat function with a counsellor 365 days per year (7am – 10pm daily) and offers users convenient, confidential access to helpful videos, podcasts and blogs on topics around mental health, reducing stress, mindfulness, sleep, nutrition and more.

Other Services:

Looking at the whole individual in the complete context of their minds, the ‘Minding Creative Minds’ programme includes access to a number of additional services to help users overcome various practical issues they may face:

  • Advice on practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress.
  • Legal Assistance – Consultation with Irish solicitors including those specialised in family law matters, property conveyancing, criminal law.
  • Financial Assistance and Consumer Assistance – Consultation with qualified Financial Advisors who can offer advice on household budgeting, borrowing/debt management, retirement planning, saving and investment advice.
  • Career Guidance and Life Coaching – Access a panel of career coach specialists in career guidance.
  • Support for non-Irish nationals and their families – helping to make the transition into the Irish system as smooth as possible.
  • Mediation Services – Help with disputes in the workplace, or issues related to family business, defective goods and services, building and construction.

For further details visit:

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