Music and the Mind, a festival reflecting on mental health and wellbeing, will be starting in Preston today. Aasma Day talks to Brian Gumbley, director and founder of the festival, about why music is such an inspiration.
Bryan Gumbley has always been articulate and a good talker, so even when he suspected he suffered from mental health issues, doctors instantly dismissed it.
It was only after he suffered a mental breakdown soon after undergoing a major heart operation that he was diagnosed with bi polar disorder and anxiety depression.
Brian, 65, who lives in Fulwood, Preston, explains: “I have only known about my mental health conditions for about 20 years, but I had suspected it for about 15 years before that.
“But in those days, doctors did not think there was anything wrong with you if you were articulate and were able to talk well.
“Things only came to a head when I suffered a mental breakdown after major heart surgery.”
Brian, who lost his wife of 43 years Patricia earlier this year and has one son, is working hard to tackle mental health stigma and dispel the myths and fears surrounding mental health issues.
He founded the festival to raise awareness and encourage people to reflect on mental health and wellbeing.
The retired engineer and jazz fan says: “Music and the Mind is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to use music, arts and leisure to educate people and dispel myths about mental health.
“There are a lot more people, including celebrities, who are coming out and admitting they are either suffering from a mental health issue or that they have a past history of it.
“If you look back in history, you will see that some fantastic writers, creators, composers and Prime Ministers have suffered from some kind of mental illness.
“Winston Churchill had depression and today, people like Stephen Fry and Ronnie O’Sullivan suffer from mental illness or depression.
“This Music and the Mind festival is very important because so many employers are missing out on taking on some great people who are intelligent and creative, but just need a bit of support because they have a mental health issue. An important fact to consider is that more than 95 per cent of mental health sufferers are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else.
“We want as many people as possible to enjoy the entertainment at this festival and open their minds to mental health and well being.
“Our aim is to make it bigger and better and hopefully within a couple of years, it will become a national event.”
Music and the Mind will be a six day festival which aims to be an entertaining and educational celebration of arts and music.
It was set up in 2009 and was created by mental health service users, carers and concerned professionals from within the NHS and mental health care and support industry to counter the myths that surround mental health and wellbeing.
The festival promises a perfect mix of professional and amateur artists giving their time to the cause.
The event will take place across multiple locations in Preston including the Town Hall, St Johns Minister and the Flag Market.
The majority of the events are free.
Brian says: “We want to help all carers and sufferers in the nation starting here in Preston with the nation’s first ever mental health festival.
“I encourage people to come along and learn about your wellbeing.
“There is something for everyone.”