The BRIT Awards has made a donation of £250,000 to Mind, The BRIT School and Music Support. The funds will be distributed through The BRIT Trust (BPI/BRIT Awards’ charitable arm).
Under the direction of chairman BRIT Awards/chairman and CEO, Sony Music UK & Ireland, Jason Iley, The BRITs 2018 have partnered with mental health charity, Mind. As the official BRITs charity partner, Mind will receive £200,000 as a contribution towards their pilot Whole School Approach to mental health programme, which will “integrate mental health and wellbeing within the culture of secondary schools so that it can reach pupils, staff, parents, and the wider community”.
The BRITs/Mind partnership will also promote the importance of mental health and wellbeing across the music and performing arts sectors and encourage the industry to prioritise tackling stigma by committing to by Mind/Rethink Mental Illness’ joint campaign Time To Change.
In August, Jason Iley signed the pledge on behalf of Sony Music UK to signal the company’s commitment to raising awareness and understanding around mental health in the workplace. Employees have since been offered the opportunity to take part in ‘mental health first aid’ [MHFA] training, which has seen numerous members of staff become qualified Mental Health First Aiders.
In addition to the Mind grant, a further £25,000 will be donated to Croydon-based The BRIT School For Performing Arts & Technology. This amount is separate to other BRIT Trust grants regularly made to the school, and is being earmarked to assist in the support of dedicated mental wellbeing and special needs work.
The third donation recipient is Music Support – the new music industry addictions and mental health charity established by Matt Thomas and Andy Franks, and boasts Robbie Williams as its patron. The charity will receive £25,000.
Speaking about the donations, Jason Iley, chairman BRIT Awards and chairman and CEO, Sony Music UK & Ireland, said: “Mind do wonderful life-saving and life-enhancing work in the field of mental health, so I’m delighted that The BRITs can make a contribution to their vital campaign in schools. I am thrilled that this money has been invested into such worthy causes.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, added: “One in four people are now estimated to experience mental health problems, so The BRIT Awards’ donation to Mind, aimed at promoting mental wellbeing in schools and in the workplace, could not be better timed. I am delighted that we can also support the important work of The BRIT School and Music Support to encourage mental wellbeing. This is a further demonstration of the value of music and the profound role it can play in inspiring social change and improving people’s lives.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive, Mind, said: “We are so grateful to The BRIT Awards 2018 for this generous donation which will help us to establish our Whole School Approach to mental health pilot in secondary schools. It will enable us to trial some exciting and innovative new ways of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, teachers, parents and everyone involved in school life."
Previous recipients of funds raised through The BRIT Awards include Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and War Child. Since its foundation in 1989, it has distributed over £20 million to charities that promote education and wellbeing through music.
Mind do wonderful life-saving and life-enhancing work in the field of mental health, so I’m delighted that The BRITs can make a contribution to their vital campaign in schools
Sony’s commitment to mental health has also recently seen the introduction of a new scheme offering all of its employees two ‘Premium Days’ – separate to annual leave – to give individuals time to pursue “passions and personal development (language course/yoga/qualification/conference/meditation/charity work/further education etc.)”
The Premium Days introduction comes on the back of Sony Music UK hosting a Mental Health & Music panel discussion in January, and the company offering daily activities in the office to all employees – yoga/meditation/Body Acceptance talk/Digital Detox Talk/Doggy de-stress – throughout Mental Health Awareness Week Sony Music UK.
A host of Sony artists have been quick to praise Sony’s commitment to mental health.
“Overcoming my anxiety was the hardest, but most powerful thing I have ever experienced,” said Meghan Trainor. “I am so proud that Sony [Music] is acknowledging it and talking about it and I am honoured to be a part of Sony”.
“Mental health issues can be a lonely place,” added James Arthur. “We need to get rid of the stigma around this and people should talk more about it. Raising awareness of the illness means that people suffering know they are not alone and there is help available. I’m really pleased that Sony Music are engaging with it.”
You can read Music Week’s 2018 interview with Jason Iley here.