Mental Me: Mental Wellness in Music Webinar with SK Shlomo & Chula Goonewardene
SK Shlomo & Chula Goonewardene (BACP) discuss mental health and music making
In May 2020, we hosted a live webinar presented by performer and producer SK Shlomo, and registered councillor and psychotherapist Chula Goonewardene (BACP). The session built on the editorial piece the pair wrote for Novation in January titled ‘Mental Me: An Artist’s Journey Through Mental Health and Recovery’. If you missed the live stream, watch the full webinar below.
SK Shlomo’s story is one of struggles with mental heath that he traces back to a traumatic incident at the age of four. Being from a vibrant immigrant family he endured the “grey” British primary school experience and, during his early childhood, felt like an outsider. “I didn’t belong,” he recalls. But it wasn’t long before he found his calling: music. Shlo mastered beatboxing and became a world-record breaking beatboxer, world looping champion, and collaborator with artists like Bjork, Ed Sheeran and Damon Albarn. But despite these successes, he was still facing challenges to his mental health. What followed was an incredibly tough two years in which SK Shlomo stopped touring. He turned to counselling, and being open about his internal struggles, to help him through. Now, Shlo can identify his anxiety before it becomes depression, and consciously prevent it from affecting him. Through his openness, he has embraced the compassion and reassurance that his fans, family and friends met him with.
Chula Goonewardene (BACP) is a registered councillor and psychotherapist who personally experienced heroin addiction during his formative years as a professional musician. Among his clients are several artists and performers, whose managers had the foresight to seek his services. He meets through weekly 1:1 therapy, and also via FaceTime/Skype.
If you’re struggling with Mental Health, here are some links to organisations and individuals who can offer support and advice:
Music Support — UK-based charity for individuals in any area of the UK music industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders (including but not limited to alcohol and drug addiction).
MusiCares — MusiCares, an initiative of the Recording Academy, provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.
Samaritans — A charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide.
Azura Minds - Health and well-being service providing regular MOT check-ups and on-going support.
BAPAM (UK): +44 020 7404 8444
MusicCares (USA): +1 800 687 4227
National Suicide Prevention Support (Canada): +1 833 456 4566
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Australia): 13 11 14
Lifeline (New Zealand): +64 0800 543 354
Befrienders (South Africa): +27 051 444 5691