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Introducing Mental Health First Aid Training to the Music Industry

Following our presentation on Mental Health First Aid at International Music Summit (IMS) on Friday 21st June eclectic Toolbox were invited by Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) to deliver Mental Health First Aid Training to its members at The Ministry in London.

The Ministry situated in Borough is a brilliant workspace designed exclusively for those working in creative and technology businesses -  making it the perfect setting to deliver our course and create a community.

It was inspiring to be joined by staff from Pioneer DJ, DJ Mag, Mixcloud, Axtone,

E Sounds, Soundmouse, Matt Cantor and of course our hosts Association for Electronic Music.

We are so excited to be starting this journey with businesses and individuals in the music industry -  helping to develop a healthier industry for everyone.



So, what is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid Training is an evidence based global training programme that teaches the skills to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health in others and the confidence to have safe and effective conversations to sign post them to the most appropriate professional support.  It also raises your awareness to your own mental health and wellbeing enabling you to better look after yourself.

Why does this matter to the music industry? Well, we know from research that has been undertaken by Help Musicians UK (2016), MIRA (2018) and Record Union (2019) that mental ill health is a very real issue in our industry which continues to have devastating consequences.


We know that the impact of these consequences has the potential to impact a much wider audience, the communities of artists and DJs is vast – the ripple effect is, as always, relevant. We know that there are a growing number of trailblazers in the industry prepared to share their mental health stories, tackle stigma and highlight  pathways to wellbeing.

In recent years Mental Health has firmly featured on the agenda of many a music conference, creating critical conversations and showing that this is a key topic which can no longer be ignored.

We know from our round tables during Mental Health Awareness Week that there are individuals working in the music business that are striving for change and to create a healthier music industry but no longer want to rely on wisdom and hope alone to support their colleagues.


"thank you both for a great training session last Friday. I found it very insightful and I definitely feel better equipped to recognise signs of depression in others and in myself." Shino Parker, Events and Communications Manager - AFEM

What do we know from speaking with our attendees on Friday at The Ministry?

- We can see from the commitment of time and focus on Friday that people within the industry are concerned about the impact on peoples mental health and feel under-skilled to be able to support themselves or others.

- Research shows the cost of poor mental health across all UK workplaces to be £33bn.

- The unique pressures, ways of working and cultures within the music industry specifically can further exacerbate mental ill health.

- There is a strong commitment and wave of energy from the industry to take positive steps and develop a healthier and more proactive music industry.

Education is key to creating mental health awareness and a workforce confident to deliver mental health first aid.  Simple skills can be learnt by anyone to look after themselves as well as better support others mental health and wellbeing.


“Really impressive delivery & content. I feel much better equipped to support my colleagues, friends and wider network.” Greg Marshall, General Manager - AFEM

Our twelve attendees are now qualified as Mental Health First Aid Champions and part of the MHFA community. They also join OUR community, set up to recognise and support members of the music industry that have attended Mental Health First Aid Training.


Our aim is to create a visible network of industry members that are mental health aware.


"I found the day really interesting and certainly I’ll be recommending to anyone and everyone!" Simon Hills, Axtone Records

Our next round of courses take place at The Ministry in July, find out more and book a place here

We’re really looking forward to working with YOU all as this agenda grows and develops.

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