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A message from First Forthnight


Dear friends,

We’re proud to announce the launch of this essential service and to be collaborating with so many leaders in the field…

Launching Minding Creative Minds (MCM)

A 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector
is now live
  • First dedicated wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector
  • Assisting the creative community through COVID-19 challenges and beyond

Following a number of years of planning it is announced today that phase one of Minding Creative Minds (MCM) will launch on June 3rd 2020.
In a first of its kind for Ireland’s creative sector, Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is a free 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector, delivered by Spectrum Life.

How does the service work?
This initial phase of Minding Creative Minds, a free 24/7 Wellbeing and support programme will go live to musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production crew.  MCM is a Mental Wellbeing Support Programme and will include access to the following Wellbeing services.

  •       24/7 Dedicated Phone Line (Phone 1800 814 244) (Calling from NI – 0800 0903677)
  •       Counselling Service (Short term intervention / Up to 6 Sessions)
  •       Telephone Counselling 
  •       Secure Video Counselling
  •       Extensive Web Portal & App enabling live chat function with a            counsellor                           
In addition to the mental health support system offered, Minding Creative Minds wishes to look at the whole individual resulting in the programme also offering access to a number of additional services structured to help users with various issues they may face such as:
  • Advice on practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress
  • Legal Assistance for a range of issues
  • Financial Assistance & Consumer Advice
  • Career Guidance & Life Coaching
  • Support for Non-Irish Nationals & their families
  • Mediation for conflict resolution
Originally it was intended to launch the Minding Creative Minds 24/7 Mental Wellbeing programme later this summer.  However, in the team’s response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, they have adjusted the launch date forward to today as the current pandemic is having a devastating impact on the music sector.  Live work was decimated and as such income for many independent artists and their crews stopped without notice. This programme is open to musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production crew in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

From June 2nd, approximately 20,000 people in the music sector in Ireland (Including Northern Ireland) will be instantly eligible to access these services

Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is the brainchild of David Reid who is the Co-founder & organiser of the RTE Choice Music Prize and has been a board member and project manager with First Fortnight since 2010.

The list of funding partners is as follows:

  • First Fortnight (Lead Partner)
  • IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation)
  • IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association)
  • RAAP (Recorded Artists, Actors & Performers)
  • Universal Music Ireland
  • The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland)
  • The RTE Choice Music Prize
  • The Minding Creative Minds programme partner is Spectrum Life: 
    Spectrum Life has a network of 480 counsellors, psychotherapists & psychologists and also provides EAP services for companies like Vodafone, Amazon, & Laya Healthcare.
Last year we conducted a comprehensive survey (1391 respondents) amongst the music & creative community in relation to mental health and the responses were stark and aligns with worldwide research.
  • 91% of respondents said that they had experienced anxiety/depression/mental ill health and 95% said that there was a need for a dedicated mental wellbeing support programme for members of the Irish Music & Creative Community

Phase one of the programme launch is for musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production crew.  It is intended in due course  to open up the services of MCM to the whole music sector and shortly after to open the programme to the  wider Creative Sector in Ireland (theatre/film/visual artists etc.).

Click below icons to follow MCM on Social Media and help spread the word!

#MindingCreativeMinds  #MCMIre

Find Out More Here
Collectively Counting’ is a new poem by Stephen James Smith and film by Craig Kenny brought to you in collaboration with First Fortnight. The poem and stunning video highlight the need for cohesion and solidarity at this time of disruption. 

Poet Stephen James Smith has teamed up with First Fortnight and written a poem to mark the particular disruption in the nations mental health that Covid 19 has created.  Collectively Counting is a call for us all to pause for a moment and count together the many questions and wanderings that this time has brought to us.

Director: Craig Kenny
Words & Voice: Stephen James Smith
Trumpet & mixing: Conor O’Brien
Piano & music: Gareth Quinn Redmond

Our coordinator John was on Newstalk today

Listen back to John Kelly speaking to Tom Dunne on Newstalk on the Sean Moncrieff show today, John is on the last 15 minutes 


Make Meetings Matter Course

Press Release – Launch of Start Some Good Crowdfunding for the College

Crowdfunding Launch

Start Some Good

Who Are we, and why support us?

Our Recovery College thinks differently about mental health, we work to empower local people, and transform communities and services throughout the Louth, Meath and North Dublin areas to embrace wellbeing, emotional distress and our ability to recover from all that life throws at us.    Since 2016 in excess of 2000 people have engaged with our inclusive education programmes, with your help we can move this number of participants to over 5,000 by 2025. By supporting our crowd funding initiative you can become part of the change we are working to create.

Given the current climate, our work has never been more in need.


What’s so different about us?

As everyone goes through emotional distress, our group learning spaces are open to the entire community.  This inclusive approach moves participants beyond the scope of traditional mental health spaces towards being empowered community members focused on enhancing their strengths and all aspects of their personality.  Our students take on leadership roles in terms of their own recovery, the delivery our programmes and creating a more accepting and supportive culture of recovery in their own community.

What’s our Impact?

Since 2016, through collaborative efforts with over 30 organisations – 2252 people have engaged with our transformative initiatives cross the three counties – students during this time identifying increased self-esteem, greater connection with others and feeling more hopeful about the future all as major outcomes. Quotes at the end  of this document.


Why we need your support?

Our work to date has taken place thanks to innovation funding provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit (HSE Dublin North). This seed fund is time restricted, so the onus is now on the college to sustain independently beyond July 2020.  We are currently launching our ‘Start Some Good’ crowdfunding site; this will run for six weeks from May 1.  Our aim is to realise funding that will sustain the college for one year, as we work to secure longer term funding beyond 2025.  By supporting us now, you can become part of the change we are working to create.


How you can help?

We are looking for media platforms to help promote the launch our crowdfunding site. We are looking for funding, donations of €25 will help; €250 will pay one student to attend and complete one of our courses; donations of €5000 will fund one full Recovery College Course, accommodating 20 students; €15000 will fund one Wellbeing Workshop Day, accommodating over 100 people. €65,000 will provide recovery education in a county.

For organisations looking for us to facilitate either bespoke courses or wellbeing days for their team – there are additional options.


What are we up to currently?

To facilitate socially distant learning we have moved our courses and supports online. Our summer term schedule includes the following online courses: ‘Self Love Programme,’ ‘My Home, My Sanctuary,’ ‘Healthy Relationships with Food,’ ‘Building Confidence and Self Esteem,’ and ‘Understanding Trauma and how it Impacts us.’


Crowdfunding Link:

Phone: 017008887      Email: Website:

For further information about how to register for a course:



Quotes from Students & Participating Professionals

“For me the realisation that recovery was a realistic aim and not just a word, helped to push me into a more positive frame of mind. The College has helped me recognise recovery and opened me up to things I can do to develop it and keep it going.”

DNNE Recovery College Student


This process can really change how we do things and make everything more equal, it was fascinating to be part of; so democratic and gave a voice to everyone…  It has made me look at other things we do in the service and look for a way of co-producing at every opportunity.’


Mental Health Nurse with 20+ years’ experience (also Recovery College Student)


“It is important to have a community and a place like this to come to, it helps you grow and not isolate yourself from everyone around you. My new level of comfort with other people has opened up other avenues to me. I have since applied for a CE scheme and got it. I would not have done this prior to my RC experience.”

Recovery College Student


This course had a very positive impact on the group, it was very easy for young people to be open and honest. Participants parents have commented since the program, that they have brought the learning home, recommending solutions for others. I have already recommended this programme to other professionals.

Professional Youth Worker