I have worked in and around the music industry since 1991, mostly in artist management and am married to a song-writer/ producer/ musician.
Having personally and professionally experienced the stresses of a talent-driven environment, I am passionate about contributing to new way of thinking about mental health in this area.
In 2016, I co-founded Music Support, a charity dedicated helping anyone working in the UK music industry suffering from alcoholism, addiction and emotional mental health problems. I created a 24 hour helpline, set policy, delivered industry-specific training and with the MMF, co-wrote the first mental health guide for artist managers.
I have 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.
I am currently working with the MMF on their Accelerator Programme delivering psycho-educational workshops specifically looking at the artist/manager relationship.
Always open about my own mental health journey and recovery, I have been publicly involved in the industry conversation and made frequent media and panel appearances (see below).
I am also a registered One Spirit Interfaith Minister and psycho-spiritual counsellor having trained at Regent’s University and the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation.
Evening Standard: October 2018
ITV London News interview regarding mental health and addiction in the Music Industry – March, 2019]
Music Ally – Article on Mental Health in the Music Industry
The Musician (Autumn 2018)
Where is The Line 2017 – Music Support Mental Health and Addictions Panel – Jan, 2017
Where Is The Line 2018 - Music Support Mental Health and Addictions Panel – Jan, 2018
Well-being In The Music Industry - Indie-Con – February, 2019
Tackling Addictions– Talent Care Conference - London , May 2018
Panel Discussion on Mental Health at The National Theatre - May 2019
Mental Health in the Music Industry – BBC Introducing Live 2018 – November, 2018
Self-Care in the Music Industry - SheSaidSo – November, 2018
Believe - Workshop delivery for Label Services on Mental Health and Well Being of Artists and Label Managers - November 2018
Voices of Fashion on Mental Health - ICAAD - December 2018
ICAAD - “In the beginning there was Unity: If the ego creates an isolated hell on earth, empathic connection is the road out.” A talk with Dr Lou Cox (therapist to Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and REM) May 2019
ACM - “How To Spot the Signs of Mental Health Issues in Your Artist and What To Do About It” May 2019
YMU Music - “How To Spot the Signs of Mental Health Issues in Your Artist and What To Do About It” and Self Care for Artist Managers - May 2019
Soho Music Month - Panel discussion on Mental Health - June 2019
BIMM London - World Mental Health Day - WORKSHOP 1: Understanding Mental Health in the Creative Space WORKSHOP 2: Let’s Talk About It: An Intimate Discussion on Mental Wellbeing as an artist and performer - October 2019
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.
Policy Consultancy for Organisations with Heart and Soul
Keep it simple
My name is Alexandra Wilson and I have been offering independent policy consultancy to the public and third sectors since 2008. My professional background at the time was in management in partnerships between various public sector bodies (such as local authorities, NHS trusts, Police and Fire Services) and with third sector organisations including social enterprises, charities and community groups. In more recent years I have founded two social enterprises of my own.
The “problem” with Policy
What I have learned over the years is that often Boards of Trustees or Directors, and often people in management, simply do not understand what policy is and what it is for; and there is sometimes a great deal of shame around that; as if creating authentic policy is something we should innately know how to do. The result of that is that policy is often cut and pasted from other organisations or from outdated practice; oftentimes policy is googled, downloaded and the name of the organisation cut and pasted in; sometimes there are gaps in policy where no one knows where to look. Often I see policies that are aspirational visions of what the organisation “will do” or “ought to do” but no substance to back it up and prove that the organisation is doing half the things their policy states. Sometimes the policy is too wordy and complicated for a small organisation.
Why Policy Matters...
Quite simply policy is what your organisation does to ensure it meets its statutory, legal requirements and its stated aims and objectives. It is a commonly agreed set of governing principles to which everyone in the organisation adheres. Policy is not a document; it is your lived practice. The written document we call “policy” is simply a snapshot of your activity on the ground and in the board room.
Policy matters most when vulnerable people are affected; this includes your employees and volunteers as well as people you work with. The principles enshrined in your policy reflect your organisations commitment to caring for the people and environment that you are in contact with. If you do not make clear your policy with regards vulnerable people then without meaning to the organisation will form blindspots in which risk of harm is increased. I would hope that any organisation would wish to avoid harming people or the environment but if that was not incentive enough; you could also be breaking the law and risking your organisations reputation and existence.