Mental Health Awareness Week
Loneliness is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and it’s a word that is bound to resonate with a lot of us after the last few years. After what is more or less a year since lockdown restrictions ended, it feels appropriate to stop and reflect on the isolation many of us felt during lockdown, and also the pressures of adapting to socialising again when the world opened up.
As a club, we’re in the business of socialising. We were incredibly thankful to re-open our doors again in July 2021 – sharing experiences and being able to connect with each other in communal spaces through art, music and performance is vital for our mental health. After lockdown, many of us found solace in such spaces – through clubs and live music again. But we also know that for many, adapting to crowds, loud music and busy spaces again wasn’t an easy ride. In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope – a statistic we have seen reflected in the increased number of club-goers approaching us about their mental wellbeing during a night out. But it’s not just dancers either – those who work in the industry have had a whole range of challenges to face, adapting to a whole new post-lockdown world, as well as the usual pressures of the industry that haven’t gone anywhere.
Clubland reopening has impacted people in different ways. And different groups’ mental health is disproportionately affected; LGBTIQ+ people for instance are between 2–3 times more likely than to report having a mental health problem in England (Mind.org.uk), women between the ages of 16-24 are almost three times as likely (26%) to experience a common mental health issue as males of the same age (Mental Health Foundation), and men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK (Mental Health Foundation). It is important to remember that our identity does not cause mental health problems; higher risk for these groups is linked to several factors ranging from social inequality and disadvantage, societal pressures, discrimination, social exclusion, traumatic experiences, differences in physical health and unique experiences.
Mental Health Awareness Week is a chance for us to look inward and reflect on our individual mental health and the wellbeing of the wider community. As a club, we want to create an open space where people can express themselves, enjoy connectivity through music, and also feel like they can approach any of our front of house team – led by our Operations Director Luke Laws – at any time if they feel like it’s too much or they're struggling. It’s also the reason we have introduced a new yoga residency to our programme; The Rogue Room, founded by Rosie Hall, incorporates electronic music and high-energy yoga practice to find flow and freedom through music.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we invited Luke, who has been responsible for all operations and health and wellbeing at fabric for a number of years, and The Rogue Room’s Rosie to write a few words about mental health within the scene. Luke recalls the changes he and his team have witnessed first hand since reopening, while Rosie talks about the surprising relationship of yoga and electronic music, and how her unique sessions are helping to bridge the gap between the hedonism and connectivity of dance music and the mental, physical and wellness benefits of yoga practice.
Lastly, we have included a note from Music Support, a small charity supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those working in the industry.
Luke Laws | Operations Director, fabric
We have seen a dramatic increase in mental health needs since we have reopened. The reintroduction to crowds, loud music, dark rooms and the general hustle of the late night economy did cause a large number of people to suffer with anxiety during the first few months of being back open and also in response to high profile media reports on safety whilst out. On a positive note, we have seen a lot more people come forward to disclose that they need help with their mental health before they come to us and also whilst at the club. That would indicate that people are feeling more comfortable in talking about the subject and their experiences, which is a hugely positive thing. Removing that stigma is definitely a step in the right direction.
“We have seen a lot more people come forward to disclose that they need help with their mental health while out.”
Our team is certainly not immune from mental health issues. The post-lockdown anxiety applied to our team also and the historic stresses of long, overnight hours with erratic sleeping patterns doesn’t help – neither does witnessing some of the more unpleasant incidents that can occur in the late night economy.
Looking after our people is our number one priority and we have to ensure that they continue to feel that they can approach us for help when at fabric. That is why we always have our welfare and medics on hand to help whenever anyone who visits or works at fabric needs it – anyone can go to our medical and welfare area situated by our smoking area, at any time.
“Experiencing poor mental health is not an issue specific to the electronic music industry. In fact one in four adults in the UK will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year.” – Mind
Rosie Hall | The Rogue Room
My first experience of meditation was on the dance floor of fabric Room 1. Unbeknown to me, that moment of letting go, surrounded by a crowd of beautiful strangers, was a moment of deep healing and catharsis. The intuitive movement of the body without thought represented something more simple, more raw – it was meditation.
It was only years later that I was able to reconnect with this state again and truly understand it, and even more surprising to me, it was in a yoga studio.
For me, the visceral feelings experienced in a yoga shala - often referred to as the ‘flow-state’ - are similar to those experienced on the dance floor, listening to your favourite DJ. In many respects, these moments of total surrender to the present are symbiotic. For me and many people that attend The Rogue Room sessions at fabric, electronic music is a key gateway to that state of being.
The very foundation of our residency at fabric is the insight that within electronic music lies a meditative and healing power that can be leveraged for a unique form of well-being. This harnessed with the power of yoga allows us to reach states of homeostasis and equilibrium.
Unlike traditional modes of yoga, The Rogue Room focuses on Rocket Vinyasa (a derivative of Ashtanga), inviting practitioners to access more advanced postures including inversions that would otherwise be reserved for the very experienced. Inverted poses such as handstands cause an increased cardiac output and switch you into a so-called ‘flow state’ where the brain is halfway between active and idle, allowing students to become more focused, creative and have clearer decision making. This sense of wellbeing can resemble feelings of euphoria. Movement is intrinsically synced to electronic music; our DJ’s curate a set to perfectly support and heighten the sequence of moves, allowing attendees to slip into an even deeper sense of meditative state. Yoga and its breath, meditation and mindful practices, has a myriad of physical and mental benefits, but pairing this with the power of music is, in my opinion, transformative.
From a scientific point of view, The Rogue Room is about regulating breath, using electronic music as a type of metronome, thus creating balance in the autonomic nervous system (rest/digest and fight/flight). By bringing this into balance we offer a sense of well-being and reparation to the mind… The very reason why our Friday night sessions at fabric go by the name ‘Redemption’.
“The visceral feelings experienced in a yoga shala - often referred to as the ‘flow-state’ - are similar to those experienced on the dance floor”
This month we will be introducing a new practice to The Rogue Room, a music meditation in fabric’s notorious Room 2, welcoming attendees to take the practice of breath x music to the next level. Research has shown that the frequency 432 Hz resonates harmoniously with nature, while 440 Hz creates chaos. This finding is demonstrated by the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto, The Hidden Messages in Water – repeated experiments show that offering frequencies at 432 Hz to water produces beautiful crystal formations, and at 440 Hz, creates complete chaos in the same specimen… As humans, we are made up of over 60% water, so it is no wonder that this healing frequency of 432Hz is proven to have a stronger impact on wellbeing, impacting the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. That is a powerful recipe.
Binaural beats are also said to induce the same mental state associated with a meditation practice, but more quickly. For ‘Recalibrate’, our first full takeover of the club, Room 2 will be transformed into a music meditation space. Thanks to our partnership with MEYA, we introduce three unique sets re-engineered with 432Hz frequency blended with binaural beats, from some of club lands biggest pioneers including Lee Burridge and Jamie Jones.
The word Yoga means ‘yolk’, or to unite. The concept of clubbing draws on so many similar notions of unity. There is a ritual practised in both spaces that brings people together, in acknowledgment of something higher. That’s the beauty of The Rogue Room and its residency at fabric – our collaboration is a way of offering new ways to experience fabric, to feel new transformative healing from its hallowed halls and to allow electronic music to move you in many more ways than just physical.
Rosie Hall is Founder and CEO of The Rogue Room.
For Mental Health Awareness Week, The Rogue Room are offering fabricfirst members exclusively a subsidised rate of £10 to join their music meditation class on 28th May, and free access to Redemption Friday classes at 6pm. If you are a member, keep an eye on your inboxes.
A message from Music Support
Music and live events continue to be hit hard by the uncertainty, fear, isolation and financial consequences of covid-19. From musicians and DJs to promoters and crew, the way back is still very unclear. Music Support, the charity that helps those who work in music and live events affected by mental ill-health and/or addiction conducted a recent industry-wide survey to understand our peers’ mental health challenges during the pandemic and beyond. The results were concerning, including 90% who said they felt down or depressed and 90% who said they didn’t think there was enough support available in music and/or live events for people with mental health and/or addiction problems.
Consequently, during the pandemic, Music Support experienced a 60% increase in volume to our confidential Helpline with more people experiencing crisis and reliant on drugs and alcohol to get through the day and numb their poor mental health.
If you work in music and live events and are experiencing mental health or addiction challenges, you are not alone. Music Support is here for you. Our team have all been affected personally by these issues and have seen their friends, colleagues and heroes lose their careers, families and even their lives.
We empower our peers to look after the wellbeing of their colleagues (and themselves) through training in Mental Health First Aid and Addiction & Recovery to prevent them reaching crisis point but, if required, our confidential Helpline, managed by industry peers with lived experience, is available Monday – Friday, 9am– 5pm on 0800 030 6789. We offer a non-judgmental listening ear service to referrals, expert clinicians and care providers for everything from mental health and addiction assessments to therapy and rehab.
For further details or to make a donation, please visit www.musicsupport.org or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental Health Awareness Weeks runs from 8th-15th May 2022.