Words by Abi Scaife
The history of concerts for a cause is immense. LiveAid, Farm Aid, Hope for Haiti Now - the list is endless, and shows just how useful gigs are at mobilising people to help others.
This year, we’re kicking off with a great one - Beder, a mental health and suicide prevention charity raising awareness through events and partnerships. They are hosting the ‘Concert for Mental Health’ on 8th February, where all profits raised will go to support Beder as they help those in need.
The concert features an incredible line-up - including Zak Abel, Billy Lockett, Sonny Tennet and Ethan Hodges. All four are performing for this one-night charity concert at Union Chapel in London, and Smiley News were able to catch up with Zak Abel for a chat about his involvement ahead of the show.
“When I’ve gone through tough times, I’ve been lucky enough to have friends around or been able to wait long enough to get therapy on the NHS,” Zak tells Smiley News, when asked about his involvement. “Some people don’t have that privilege, so I want to raise money and awareness for those people.”
According to Mental Health UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time in the UK - yet the Mental Health Foundation found that less than 50% of people with a generalised anxiety disorder are seeking treatment.
The Mental Health Foundation also estimated that 75% of people with mental health problems in England may not get access to the treatment they need.
So why are so many people not getting the help they need for struggles with their mental health? Mental health awareness is the best it has ever been, and yet there is a disconnect between the amount of people struggling and those who are receiving treatment.
Perhaps it is the stigma that still persists, that having difficulties with your mental health makes you weak, or is something to be ashamed of. Perhaps it is that the NHS has a long wait time and private healthcare can be expensive - whatever the reasons, Beder is committed to breaking down those barriers.
Unlike many other charities, Beder doesn’t offer treatment themselves - instead, they are focused on ending stigma, and supporting people as they find the help they need through other charities and initiatives.
Partnering with charities like Shout and Samaritans, Beder is working to make help available for people, before they make the decision to end their lives. The charity was inspired by Beder Mirjan, who sadly died by suicide after a struggle with his own mental health - and today his family is working so that nobody has to go through what they, and Beder, did.
“Getting to spend time with Razzak, and understanding why he set up Beder was really powerful,” explains Zak. “He lost his brother to suicide and so he is trying to prevent that [from] happening to others. I’m proud to be an ambassador.”
The concert featuring Zak is just one of the incredible events put on by Beder and their partners in order to raise awareness of poor mental health and destroy the stigma that prevents so many from getting help.
Ambassadors like Zak Able enable Beder to make a huge difference in the lives of those who are struggling - both by supporting mental health care organisations, and by encouraging conversation around poor mental health.
“It’s arguably the most important thing we have,” comments Zak. “As someone who has had experience with anxiety and come out the other side, I feel like I have [a] responsibility to share my experience and offer a perspective that could help others.”
Thanks to the funds raised by their events - like the Concert for Mental Health, which is happening on Thursday 8th February - Beder is able to provide free therapy vouchers for individuals who cannot access therapy any other way.
“My goal is to raise a load of money so that others can have therapy, raise awareness for practical ways to have better health, and entertain people that believe in there being better mental health in our society,” says Zak.
You can purchase tickets for Beder’s Concert for Mental Health by following this link to the Beder website. All profits will go to supporting Beder in their mission.
To find out more about Beder, and how to support their work, you can follow this link.
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Campaign to End Loneliness. This charity campaigns to make sure that people most at risk of loneliness are reached and supported. Support them here.
Samaritans. Samaritans works to make sure there's always someone there for anyone who needs someone. Find out more here.
Ripple Suicide Prevention. R;pple exists to ensure immediate mental health support is presented to individuals following a harmful online search. Learn more here.