Sam Parker is the founder of Parker Consulting – a specialist mental health and wellbeing company that delivers services directly to artists and talent managers. Her services give her clients hands-on insights and tools to help them navigate their complex, challenging and all-consuming roles in the music and entertainment industry.
This service is formed of a number of key components: In-house and online one-to-one counselling sessions, psycho-educational workshops and a referral service which can connect clients to a network of trusted counsellors, psychotherapists, coaches and addiction recovery services.
As a former artist manager, Sam has a 20+ year background working directly with artists and creatives in the music industry – she has experienced, first-hand, the stresses of a talent-driven environment. So, when in the mid 2010’s when the growing number of artist suicides and the lack of support for managers and artists facing the struggles of life in the industry became ever apparent, Sam felt passionate about forming a new and more pragmatic way of addressing these issues.
She co-founded Music Support in 2016 - a charity for UK music industry people suffering from alcoholism, addiction and emotional mental health problems. She created a 24-hour helpline, helped organisations set policy, delivered industry-specific training and with the MMF, co-wrote the first mental health guide for artist managers.
After leaving this role in 2018, she set up Parker Consulting and, inspired by Martha Kinn’s (Years & Years/MNEK) vision, created a dedicated mental health & wellbeing service for YMU Music artists, managers and staff - the first of its kind.
Since then, she has also been part of the advisory panel for the BAPAM psycho-social working group looking at mental health in the performing arts sector and a contributor to the AFEM’s Electronic Music Industry Guide to Mental Health.
As a wellbeing consultant her clients include MUVVA, Believe, BIMM, ACM and the MMF on their Accelerator Programme delivering psycho-educational workshops specifically looking at the artist/manager relationship.
Always open about her own mental health journey and recovery over the last 5 years, Sam has been publicly involved in the ongoing industry conversation and has made frequent media and panel appearances.
More recently she has co-authored the new MMF Manager’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellbeing (2021), contributed to the 2021 book 'Sound Advice' by Rhian Jones & Lucy Heyman and is now conducting a ground-breaking research project investigating the artist/manager relationship.
Sam is also a registered One Spirit Interfaith coach and counsellor having trained at Regent’s University London and the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, holds an advanced Safe Guarding Lead certificate and has been in recovery and psychotherapy for over 20 years.
She has a private practice in Great Portland Street where she practices Transpersonal Counselling, is fully insured and undergoes supervision from a UKCP registered supervisor.
Chula Goonwardene MBACP
I am a BACP registered therapist who spent his former years as a musician, starting as a classically trained pianist and violinist, becoming a self-taught guitarist and drummer, and then enjoyed a professional career in music during his 20’s.
I joined what evolved into North Westminster Drug & Alcohol Service, in the voluntary sector of the Substance Misuse field, in 2005; becoming a qualified Motivational Interviewing Practitioner and Advanced Group Facilitator, in addition to gaining an NVQ4 in Health & Social Care Management.
I have worked with over 500 clients in community-based treatment as a Drug & Alcohol Practitioner, before moving into Treatment Management, Training and Consultancy in 2010 and then qualifying as a Counsellor & Psychotherapist in 2014.
Alongside my private practice in Harley Street, consulting for Music Support, BLFCT and the Centre for Social Justice, writing for Intervene and lecturing at LSBU, I am currently the Operations Manager & Senior Counsellor at Steps2Recovery, and still finds time to play the drums regularly.
I come from a Buddhist family and use this philosophy to enhance both my personal and professional life.
Having worked in the music industry since the early 90’s and in the recovery field for the last 10 years, Matt provides unique service for those in the music industrystruggling with addiction and/or problematic substance use.
Matt brings a combination of formal qualifications, over 30 years of professional experience, his own life experience, his natural empathy and discretion to bring a unique perspective and abilities to challenging situations.
Matt provides facilitation, support, advocacy and mentoring to individuals and teams affected by addiction or mental health issues. He will work directly with the individual and as a core member of a team around the individual, to create and maintain a safe environment. He will ensure that the most appropriate support structure is in place around the individual and team, including clinical support and treatment where needed.
For over 6 years, Matt has worked in this capacity with numerous artists suffering from addiction and/or mental health issues. His unique skillset is a combination of his previous 25 years in the music industry in major record labels, management, touring, and artist support, his lived personal experience of addiction and recovery in the music industry, and his knowledge, understanding and experience within the professional and para-professional addiction and mental health treatment community.
Matt will help the individual express their needs, thoughts, feelings and position, and to communicate on their behalf if they do not feel able, or are unable, to do so themselves. Sometimes this will involve negotiating or mediating; facilitating and holding a dialogue between all affected parties.
Matt will liaise with the management, security, tour management and production teams to create a community of support and best practice.
Through understanding. communication and action designed to bring about change, Matt will help the individuals and teams to develop resilience and their own procedures so they can go back to operating independently as quickly as possible.
He has significant experience with a diverse range of artists in many different situations from international stadium tours to grass roots venues tours and festivals, and organisations from small small to global companies. He has provided live-in services and consulted at a distance.
Matt is able to provide fast support and solutions in crisis situations, arrange for emergency treatment and build effective and sustainable support structures.