Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Our project will be 2 X free music tuition groups (guitar and bass) per week plus 2 X free music workshops and live gigs that create opportunity for participants to put into practice taught skills and perform alongside other musicians at live gigs. We will be creating various opportunities for participants including the reduction of social isolation, making meaningful friendships, a real sense of community and participation, opportunities for participants to form original bands, confidence in performing in front of each other and a live audience, how to organise and put on a gig in a venue, improved mental health and resilience, skills useful for applying for education and employment within the music industry.

Creating 2 X weekly music tuition groups (guitar and bass) for a one year period, split into 4 equal periods of three months. The tuition will be available for 8-10 participants for a 3 month period. Creating 2 X music workshops and live music gigs in a music venue after each 6 month tuition period. This will enable participants to put their taught tuition and skills into practice with other musicians and participants in a larger music workshop and perform completed songs at a live gig in front of an audience.

Tonic Music for Mental Health supports mental health recovery through music and art workshops and groups with opportunities to perform and exhibit at gigs and events. We financially support musicians and artists with creative projects to help them earn a living from their craft. We reach socially isolated people living with mental illness and through our projects support people to gain confidence, learn new skills, make meaningful friendships that extend beyond our projects.
We fulfil an ever increasing gap in mental health provision whereby services have been cut; secondary mental health services offer an increasingly streamlined service; therapy waiting times are often 1-2 years. We offer support to everyone in our community regardless of diagnosis. Our belief is Tonic should be open and accessible to people whom simply want to take part in a great project through to people who might be experiencing depression or anxiety for the first time and at the other scale, people whom have severe and enduring mental illness. It is our belief by removing criteria, we can start to really break down stigma and discrimination and barriers people face. People who are mentally well can learn from, understand and make friendships with people with mental illness and vice versa. We believe this open and healthy attitude towards mental health creates a supportive community. Through our ethos, openness and the types of events we facilitate, we have created an organisation that some people would never have sought support for their mental health in a traditional sense (going to the GP / Talking Therapies). Previous participants have gone on to find paid employment, feel connected to their communities and make meaningful friendships beyond the projects.

Tonic have been supporting people with experience of mental health problems locally for the past 4 years through music related activities. Both Tonic founders / directors are mental health practitioners with professional backgrounds in social work and occupational therapy as well as lived experience of mental health problems. We work with professional musicians to co-facilitate projects and encourage participants with mental health problems to work with us to co-facilitate future projects. Many previous participants have gone on to form bands who now perform at established UK festivals and venues; recorded EPs (funded by Tonic); reduced psychiatric hospital admissions; reduced social isolation; found paid employment; reduced symptoms of mental health and learnt helpful coping strategies.


Location: Portsmouth

Tonic is an important part of the local community, raising awareness of mental health & bringing a sense of community for all of the community. Tonic is an alternative, fun, creative & inclusive organisation. It's ethos is very much rooted in enabling confidence, recovery & change through music.
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