Music festival for mental health is a huge success

A MUSIC festival, held to raise awareness of mental health issues, was hailed a “fantastic success”.

Gratfest, organised by former Mossley Hollins High School pupils Amber Lane-McIvor and Mark Coupe, took place at Stanley House, Audenshaw on November 4.

Eighteen bands gave their time for free and performed over a 12-hour period in an event to support Mind for better mental health.

The musical festival was part of The Gratitude Programme, a charity set up three years ago by Carrbrook-based Amber, her mother Sarah Burton and Mark who are the three directors.

Sarah said: “It was a hugely positive event and the 18 bands want to come back next year when it will be a bigger and better event.

“We had a lot of new people attending and they spoke about their own mental health issues, and we got their contact details so we can help them.”

Sarah explained how The Gratitude Programme was formed: “Amber and Mark came to me to voice concern that a lot of their friends were suffering from anxiety and depression.

“They were keen to help them take control of their wellbeing which is how it began.”

They devised a programme, which includes drawing classes, relaxation and breathing exercises, to help and that was rolled out over a two-year period to a local school where it reached 300 pupils. The charity now also works with other groups as well as individuals from both Tameside and Oldham and their services are provided free of charge.

Sarah continued: “A lot of children are overwhelmed with life and we try to make them more self confident.

“It is not only young people and we also work with older people who have the same problems.

:At any point of our lives we can feel overwhelmed so hopefully we can help reduce anxiety and depression.”

Amber, 21, who is studying at the British Institute of Modern Music and a singer, explained that a large number of musicians suffer from anxiety and depression.

She said: “I have heard 80-per-cent of musicians have some sort of depression or mental health issues.

“The festival was an amazing way to get a lot of people involved and music is great for bringing people together.”

A number of other former pupils from Mossley Hollins, friends of Amber and Mark, are involved with The Gratitude Programme.

The long-term objective of The Gratitude Programme is to have a wellbeing centre where their activities can be based.

 Anyone with mental health issues can email or call 07814 960224.


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