Terry Hall and Barry Ashworth launch mental health programme with Tonic Music

Terry Hall of The Specials and Dub Pistols’ Barry Ashworth have partnered with mental health organisation Tonic Music to launch a new programme for music industry workers, Tonic Rider.

The programme aims to provide guides, mental health first aid training to grassroots venues and in-person support stands. Tonic Rider was piloted at the 100 Club in London and the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. Organisers hope to roll out the programme to green rooms, festivals and Night Time Industries Association members, as well as include it on rider lists and wall posters.

As Musicweek reports, the programme will also offer peer group sessions hosted by Babyshambles’ Adam Ficek (who is also a psychotherapist) and workshops on performance anxiety, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness and more topics.

Hall and Ashworth have signed on as Tonic Rider’s patrons, with Ashworth recording a cover of New Order’s Blue Monday with Canadian artist Dubmatix and dub producer Gaudi to raise funds for the programme.

“Among my music circle, it’s been devastating to lose friends to suicide since the pandemic. People have lost their livelihoods, their identities, their confidence and have feelings of anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness,” Ashworth said in a statement to Musicweek.

“The need is urgent and I’m really honoured to work with an organisation that is providing practical support where it’s most needed. The Tonic Rider is providing much needed mental health support remotely to venues and the rest of the community. With the music industry on its knees, it is needed now more than ever.”

Hall revealed that his mental health took a turn towards the end of the year, but communication and reaching out to loved ones and medical professionals helped.

“These are terribly testing times for those of us with mental health issues. My mental health deteriorated towards the end of last year. The thing that got me through was communication. If you’re suffering, then it is incredibly important to tell people, family, friends, doctors, Tonic,” he said.

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