The Roadie Cookbook has raised thousands for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for professional touring crew.The Roadie Cookbook was curated during the first lockdown by production manager Nick Gosling and industry friends production coordinator Julie Cotton, band assistant Athena Caramitsos, backline tech Rich House and industry publicist Kel Murray.
The book showcases a collection of 50 recipes, anecdotes and advice from seasoned touring professionals working at all levels. It features contributors who have toured with Dolly Parton, Bryan Ferry, Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue and many more.
Following World Mental Health Day, the friends can now reveal the book has raised well in excess of £13,000, with 100% of profits being donated to charities Music Support and Stagehand.
World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the objective of World Mental Health Day as a time to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”.
The professional roadie community is one of the most affected by mental health, with up to three in four experiencing an episode over the course of their career. The pandemic magnified this. Two years on, the touring industry is navigating how to practice better self-care and help peers.
Tour manager Suzi Green who works with acts such as Grace Jones, PJ Harvey and Clean Bandit states: “In an ideal world every tour should have someone who’s MHFA trained. It’s a high-pressure environment and having taken the training two years ago and dived back into a hectic schedule post COVID, I’ve already used what I’ve learnt. The listening skills are proving invaluable and given some of the scenarios we worked through on the course, I now feel better equipped to know what to do.”
Joanne Croxford, tour coordinator with Duran Duran also advocates taking the course: “Having a broader understanding of mental health challenges as a result of doing MHFA has meant having the confidence to see whether it’s the toll of the job that’s having a negative effect on people, or, if there’s more to it than that. Being able to decipher one between the other could help save lives.”
Although the course is becoming more commonplace amongst the live events and concert touring communities, many are unable to afford course fees due to recovering from the loss of income during the pandemic, and more recently, with the UK’s cost of living crisis.Eric Mtungwazi, Music Support managing director states: “We are so grateful to the team behind The Roadie Cookbook for donating proceeds towards Music Support’s Mental Health First Aid training accredited by MHFA England. We are passionate about ensuring that every tour or event has at least one Mental Health First Aid trained individual, especially now, given the long-term impact of the global pandemic on mental health and addiction is likely to see higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other health conditions. Anyone who benefits from this bursary will become a Mental Health First Aider with Music Support, investing in the mental health and wellbeing of our industry colleagues.”
Mike Lowe, chair of the original live event production benevolent fund, Stagehand, adds: “When the COVID-19 Pandemic brought our industry to a complete standstill, as live production workers it was hard to help ourselves and each other. No one was earning. As tough as it was, the wonderful Roadie Cookbook was conceived, worked on, designed, produced, sold and distributed by volunteer live production workers to help their co-workers. I am sure that everyone in our industry will want to join us all at Stagehand in thanking the whole team and those who have bought a copy for this brilliant and successful endeavour.”
If you are a freelance touring professional based in the UK and have completed at least one tour, please state your interest in taking the two-day Mental Health First Aid Course free of charge by application at: www.musicsupport.org/roadie-cookbook-mhfa.
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