Mind Yer Self & Giving A Funk About Mental Health
Think clubbing can't be synonymous with mental wellbeing? Three Glasgow students are challenging that misconception with their new club night, Mind Yer Self
Beginning on 21 May, Ruaridh Gill, Matty Lech and Cammy Macphail will be hosting bi-monthly nights at The Berkeley Suite, bringing some exciting up-and-coming DJs and producers to the city in the process. More importantly, the Mind Yer Self events aim to raise awareness about mental health issues among young people.
All profits from the club nights are donated to Penumbra, one of Scotland's largest mental health charities. As the trio explain, Mind Yer Self is a concept that seeks not only to raise funds and awareness, but also to encourage a conversation about real experiences with mental health issues and break down barriers in the process.
"After seeing close friends struggle with mental illness and feel unable and uncomfortable to talk about the problems they were facing," they explain via email, "we felt like we could set up an event that could encourage these conversations and help normalise the issue of mental illness, while having a great night by having the best DJs and producers come play for us. MYS fills a gap in the scene by combining interesting bookings with awareness [of] an important problem, and raising money for our chosen charity Penumbra."
With a point of difference to other fundraising events, at the Mind Yer Self club nights partygoers are encouraged to vocalise their experiences via 'truth walls', where they can write down their experiences with mental illness. Anonymous stories are also shared on the event's Facebook page, with the aim of destigmatising mental illness and building a supportive and understanding clubbing community.
"The response has been amazing," they confirm. "We were really surprised by how willing people were to share experiences they have been through. We believe this indicates the need for more opportunities for people to talk openly."
In addition, they explain, "we have also started anonymous awareness posts on our Facebook page, where people can share extended stories regarding their experience with mental health. The response to this has been so positive that we have had to increase their frequency. So check them out on our Facebook page."
Mind Yer Self was launched at The Poetry Club in late March, and the warm reception to the inaugural event indicates a demand for these kind of local, awareness-focussed events.
"We raised over £200 for Penumbra, an amazing charity who work with many young people across Scotland, and had a blast in the process," the trio reflect. "Great atmosphere start to finish, with a classy set played by the Loose Joints guys and a great crowd to boot." Going forward, Mind Yer Self will take up a new home at The Berkeley Suite, a venue that the organisers say "continually hosts diverse nights that we feel have a unique atmosphere and a music policy akin to our own."
Clubbing and its accompanying excesses frequently come under fire for its perceived dangers and is even blamed, in some cases, for contributing to psychiatric illness amongst young people. When asked whether they think clubbing and its accompanying nightlife helps or hinders mental health, the trio are frank in their response.
"We believe that it has the capability to do both," they respond. "When done in excess, we do agree it can be damaging to individuals' mental health. However, we also feel it can be beneficial. Meeting like-minded people and discovering new music can have a really positive effect on your mental wellbeing."
With many internationally renowned artists, such as The Black Madonna and Ben Pearce, speaking up about their issues with mental health, the Mind Yer Self crew agree "we feel proud to be a part of what is a progressive openness about mental health and its frequency in society."
"Regularly seeing artists we admire speaking about their experiences and the effects of touring has prompted us to try and merge the idea of enjoying a night out while being able to discuss issues they may currently be facing," they explain.
Exciting new music is central to their ethos, and the Mind Yer Self crew are excited to welcome O'Flynn to The Berkeley Suite on 21 May. He's "a relative newcomer from London," they explain, "who got inspired to make a song after hearing a group of women jamming on percussion (at around 120 bpm) while on holiday in Morocco.
"That song is Tyrion, which along with Desmond's Empire, was one of 2015's highlights and continues to deliver every time. He’s been on our radar for a while and every one of his releases and mixes has been special, so it was an easy choice."
Finally, reflecting on their dream Mind Yer Self line-up, the three explain that "this has caused some debate between the three of us!"
"There are too many to choose a single artist," they concur, "so we've narrowed it down to these three: Hunee b2b [with] Antal, Move D, and Matthew Herbert." Let's hope more and more artists continue to get behind this forward-thinking new venture.