Skip to main content

Music recorded at University raises awareness of male mental health

Friday 5 October 2018

MUSIC recorded and produced at the University of Salford is being used to raise awareness of male mental health.

A 12 track album is being launched as part of Manchester arts collective We Are Willow’s A Different Light project, launched at HOME Manchester on Wednesday 10 October – World Mental Health Day – and supported by the University.

Simon Connor, Lecturer in Music Technology, recorded and produced several of the album’s tracks at the University’s New Adelphi Studios.

Simon said: “This has been a fantastic project to be involved in. We’ve been able to collaborate with a wide range of artists from different disciplines all for a great cause. Using the New Adelphi Studios to record the original tracks has been of huge benefit, and allowed us to make great use of the different recording spaces and exceptional studio equipment.” 

Male suicide 

The project, which also includes four film commissions and spoken word performances, has been made in collaboration with Manchester Mind, an independent mental health charity that helps more than 5,000 young people and adults each year.

Every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life, this equates to 84 men per week, making suicide the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK (CALM). Shocked by these statistics, yet inspired to make a difference, We Are Willow initiated this project to explore and tackle the ongoing stigma surrounding male mental health.  

‘A Different Light’ aims to immerse, challenge and inspire the audience, whilst celebrating the makers involved. It will demonstrate how mental health issues affect us all, directly and indirectly, within our circle of family and friends, ourselves or strangers we encounter briefly. 

'Man up'

Apparent in the projects’ creative outputs, is the central question of what it means to ‘man up’. Boldly, and bluntly, shunning the idea that simply acting more ‘like a man’ will conquer mental health issues. Instead the message which can be heard at times quite loudly, but also more subtly, states that ‘being a man’ should not be a barrier to finding a healthier, happier self. 

At its core are four songs by We Are Willow. Taking this starting point, emerging and established artists were invited to respond to the music, working with no restrictions to “take the music and do what feels right”. This resulted in four spoken word works that encourage the audience to think about how we can challenge misconceptions around mental health and engage more openly with one another. 

These performances will be interspersed with four films, which will challenge and absorb the audience. In its entirety, this immersive experience aims to embrace and support the topic of male mental health in ‘a different light’.

Creative approach

Joanna Huddart, Fundraising Manager at Manchester Mind said, “A year in the making, we’re proud to support We Are Willow’s premiere. We need to talk about men’s mental health and this creative approach is very powerful and effective. The monies raised will ensure Manchester Mind can continue helping local people in need of our support.”

A Different Light is being shown at HOME, Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN, on Wednesday October 10 at 8.30pm 

Click here to buy tickets.