Sound Mind Sessions: A new project to raise awareness and funds for mental health issues in the music industry.


I’ve recently helped set up Sound Mind Sessions,  a new joint venture with Devon new music promoter, Pik Rawlings. Sound Mind Sessions are Devon acoustic music concerts, held in beautiful settings along the Exe Estuary, designed to celebrate the South West U.K. music scene as well as to raise awareness of, and funds for Mental Health support for those working in the creative industries.

 The music profession is unique – the highs and lows of performing, financial insecurity, anti-social working hours and lack of recognition can take their toll on mental health. The world’s largest known study of musicians mental health (‘Can Music Make You Sick?’) recently found that around 70% of respondents had suffered from panic attacks, high levels of anxiety or depression, and over half felt there were gaps in the provision of services for musicians.

 Pik works with a group of over 50 musicians from Devon and beyond, supporting their musical development and helping them get live music and radio opportunities to further their careers. In doing so, it has become clear that the findings of ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ were also true in Devon, with troublingly high levels of mental health issues in the group.

So, as well as raising awareness and funds for mental health issues in the music industry, Sound Mind Sessions also aims to help tackle one of the underlying issues, by providing paid gig opportunities for up and coming local musicians to support more established acts. Through her work with Livewell Southwest, Pik has also organised a bespoke Mental Health First Aid course on 13-14 August in Plymouth (found here) for musicians that will provide tools and techniques to support those experiencing mental or emotional distress. We hope that Sound Mind Sessions will raise funds to support subsidised places on these courses, as well as contributing to mental-health and music related charities.

The first of our Sound Mind Sessions will be held in the fascinating medieval All Saints Church, Kenton, near Exeter at 7pm on Saturday 1st September 2018 (find tickets here).

Headlining will be Harbottle and Jonas, a stunning young folk duo based near Totnes, Devon. Their music is eclectic in style and always accompanied by a story. They have received plaudits from folk royalty including Seth and Geoff Lakeman, Jon Boden, Rod Clements, and Declan Sinnott, and have recently been endorsed by Seasalt Clothing. BBC Introducing have described their music as “phenomenal” and a review by Americana UK said “stunning songwriting and heart-rending arrangements - 9/10”. Playing up to 200 gigs each year, these troubadours are to be found far and wide across our beautiful island.

Supporting are two unique and very different acoustic artists:


Local singer-songwriter Holly Morwenna, known for her purity and clarity of her vocals and folk-blues singer-songwriter and 12 string guitarist Ollie Dixon, who also designed the logo for Sound Mind Sessions. Ollie also presented a YouTube video to promote the Mental Health First Aid Course for musicians, and said “The Mental Health First Aid Course for Musicians is a two-day event running from 13-14 August, 9-5. It’s an interactive, intensive course providing tools and techniques for anyone dealing with anxiety or depression or panic attacks, or any sort of emotional distress. It’s run in Plymouth by Livewell Southwest and other experts.”


As I see it myself, there are some incredible new acoustic acts in Devon, but paid opportunities are thin on the ground, so I am thrilled to be involved in this new venture to support them. I supported Harbottle and Jonas myself last year, and they were absorbing and spine-tingling to watch, so I am sure they will delight our audiences. Pik explains:  “As well as supporting a large group of new Devon musicians, my day job involves healthcare training, so I am delighted that this new project has finally brought these things together to support new music and mental health issues. We’ve got a really fantastic lineup for our first session in a stunning and atmospheric venue”.

David Harbottle of Harbottle and Jonas said “We are absolutely delighted to be playing the first Sound Mind Sessions event and supporting such an important issue - I would imagine there is major potential for arts funding in the future”.

This is a new beginning for Sound Mind Sessions, but we also hope it will be a new way to support our community of fantastic musicians in the local area.



Sound Mind Sessions Facebook

Sound Mind Sessions Twitter 

Harbottle and Jonas

Holly Morwenna

Ollie Dixon 



*Source: “Can Music Make You Sick?” – a study by the University of Westminster and MusicTank, and commissioned by Help Musicians UK:

Pete Falloon