Jim Byers, SK Shlomo, Amanda Gentle. Moderated by Mikey Jarrell

For the Heads: Exploring music and mental health (Panel discussion)

Working in music allows creative freedom that many outsiders view as a privilege. But whether writing, touring, or recording, musicians and those that work with them experience unique challenges with their mental wellbeing. On the flip side, music also has to power to offer healing, and not just for those who make it. We will talk to musicians, industry heads, and those who offer them support, and hear their stories.

Jim Byers is a former music journalist turned marketing and PR specialist who last year quit his job to set up Edinburgh Music Lovers (EML). EML is a boutique promoter for Edinburgh and a platform championing music in the capital. One of its key goals is to show how music can have a positive impact on mental health. Mental health is a topic close to his heart – from his dad’s suicide when he was 10, to his own struggles with depression. Music has always helped him and, with mental health issues on the rise and increasing evidence proving music’s many benefits on wellbeing, he wants to help show how it can help others.

Amanda Gentle is the Founder of Change Our Minds; a new social enterprise working with creative and entertainment sector individuals, teams and organisations to build resilience and put wellbeing at the heart of creative practice. Change Our Minds offers resilience coaching, courses for creative professionals and mental health awareness training. www.changeourminds.org Simon Shlomo Kahn knows how it feels to be on top of the world. For over a decade, the genre-defying, award-winning, recording-breaking beatboxer, producer and live-looper has set new standards for his craft.

But staying on top becomes increasingly tricky to maintain. Despite the standing ovations and the accolades, Simon would feel oddly empty inside. Two years ago, he took a step back to work out what he wanted and his world seemed to crumble under his feet. “I’d always been incredibly driven,” says the London-born musician, now back as solo artist SK Shlomo, “but ultimately that was at the expense of my mental health.”

Moderated by Mikey Jarrell. Mikey has a background in music festival event management and artist liaison, and has been a professional DJ for nearly 20 years. He is the organiser of Douniversity.