Back in July I, (Halina Rifai) tweeted the following and got such a large response that I thought it would be wonderful to set up a community to accompany people to gigs:
"If you like going to gigs/concerts and have anxiety/panic attacks/depression then happy to accompany you on the evenings I can to a show in Glasgow! Obviously will get my ticket! Hit me up ????"
— Halina Rifai (@halina1979) 19 July 2018
The Respite Room, therefore, decided we are going to help raise money for people to obtain their First Aid Mental Health certificate so they were better equipped when it came to understanding, coping and potentially accompanying people to events.
This is part of a bigger project. We want to set up an official gig pal scheme. If people are going to a gig, show or indeed live performance, we are looking for them to accompany people that also want to attend. There are a few reasons why this is beneficial:
- It will provide funding for people to gain a First Aid Mental Health certificate and have a further understanding surrounding mental health
- If people are looking to offer to volunteer and are already attending a show, this does not exceed workload, it slots into their lives
- It promotes new relationships and connections
- It will encourage people to support creative output. It helps people recognise further how important art, music and creativity is for wellbeing and mental health
- It shows how important live venues are to our lifestyles and that they should be kept protected
- It provides a revenue stream to support arts & culture
- It will introduce people to new music and art and contribute to fanbases
- It will encourage safe spaces within venues
- Any extra funding we receive will be donated to Mental Health Foundation's MHF LIVE
- Even if people may not accompany people to creative outings, it would be incredible for people to have this certificate to promote understanding and acceptance
From personal experience, the arts have been vital in contributing to positive mental health.
We have also started contacting venues to collate floor plans, seating plans, venue capacity, toilets and exit positions and more. For people with social anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, general anxiety, depression and more, it can be a monumental task to go to live events. People can sometimes spend days, weeks, even months planning and researching where they are going so they can ensure they are ok. We are building a database on our site of Glasgow venues (to begin with) that will have all this information, so that people can plan more easily. This will then hopefully spread to other cities.
Each accredited Mental Health First Aid certificate course can range from £50 to £140 depending on location and how many days the course lasts. The course that we attended lasted 2 days in Glasgow and cost £75. You receive a certificate at the end and also valuable course material to assist you going forward.
As someone that experiences issues with mental health, the course opens you up to looking at how to deal with various aspects of mental health including depression, anxiety, panic, suicide and more. It covers a wide range of areas.
We are looking to fund 20 places to start. This would then start the conversation. Those 20 people would then talk to those around them (hopefully) about the importance of this course and help spread how valuable this discussion is. They would then accompany people to events but also use this information in their immediate lives to start a positive domino effect.
Imagine what a difference this would make.
Thank you for reading and hopefully helping xx