Thank you for your time,
Welcome to an urgent appeal for €10,000 funding for a new peer support mental and physical health resource, for professionals in the Arts, Live Entertainment, T.V. and Film Industries.
We recognise an urgent need during our daily encounters with the cowshed members - especially as we head into a complex winter and 2021 season.
We want to press go this week to build this service for launch as soon as possible.
Can you help us achieve this target fast?
Who Are We?
The Cowshed is a free peer health and wellness support group for all professionals in the Irish arts & live entertainment industry, tv & film, available since 2019.
Collectively we have all been through a lot - suicide, depression, addiction, loss and just plain old stressed out. Simply put, these are issues that have been in the dark in our community for a very long time - and in Ireland we must evaluate our own local industry and seek to provide a supporting net.
Mental health evaluations of more than 9,000 respondents for a UK Film and TV Charity, showed nearly nine in 10 people working in the UK industry have experienced a mental health problem (https://www.screenskills.com/insight/news/mental-health-report/)
Another UK Technical Backstage Entertainment Industry Mental Health Evaluation has also shown over 58% of professionals coming to this industry have prior mental health issues - with additional numbers stating their wellness has been adversely affected by working in this exciting yet demanding industry. (https://gsauk.org/sites/default/files/2020%20Images/UK%20Backstage%20Entertainment%20Industry%20Report%20%286%29.pdf)
One reason for this is that our industry is welcoming and a haven for many who strive despite the additional pressure of managing wellness. We mind each other as best we can.
The hardest part is understanding, and there's no better start than talking and listening.
Despite being a community driven industry which voices deeply personal thoughts and feelings through music, art, poetry, theatre, sculpture, drama and film - we are also affected by the shame and fear that speaking out about our health, might undermine our professional careers.
The Cowshed was founded in 2019 as a peer support group with an aim to change this - we aim to build on the awareness that, no matter our personal pressures, we are on teams who successfully and expertly deliver projects with excellence.
However, we want the industry to recognise how the benefits of awareness, sharing experiences, understanding and acceptance of our general health can vastly improve our work, our lives, by removing the unnecessary additional pressure of shame, secrecy and judgement.
We aim to learn together, and take action to provide working environments, where wellness requirements are as easily embraced as our dietary requirements are.
With these funds we aim to continue these peer talks, survey our needs, support with quality information and influence the arts and entertainment industry to improve support for all professionals with ease. This will be built by us, for us.
So far The Cowshed offers the following free services:
1. Cowshed online peer to peer support forum - via our fully confidential, 24/7 monitored facebook group. A haven where members can talk with their peers from all over the world about health issues they are having, air their worries or problems and seek real time support from others in the industry who have been through similar experiences. Built by us, for us.
2. Peer to peer interview podcasts called The Tech Check (https://www.thecowshedlive.com/audiocast) - where we have frank conversations about the health and wellness issues prevalent for those who work in the arts & live entertainment industry, tv & film. The aim here is also to smash the myths associated and to show how many of us continue to hide, carry or work through health issues alone. Slowly building an audience organically and 5 months in, we have 600+ listeners a month. Built by us, for us.
3. Help accessing professional services - we actively listen and encourage accredited professional health support. The unique peer to peer, non-corporate approach helps direct crisis or struggling members to the right professional support 24/7. Built by us, for us.
All of the services we currently offer have been received with astounding universal appeal - by those who have health issues, by those who don’t and by those who care for peers, family and friends with health issues. We believe this affirms - we have hit on a real need.
With adverse restrictions currently placed on our industry - we want to stitch a great big catch all net to help support our peers as they navigate the extra worries of financial stress, loneliness & isolation.
However we have noticed one gaping hole - and that is easily accessible, understandable, free, quality information.
What do we need these funds for?
It’s with your help, we can build a website packed full with relevant resources, where peers affected by mental health issues can access dedicated peer support and up to date information in an easy, familiar and simple way.
The website will embrace:
1. What we can learn from talking together and how we can talk together both on and offline. Talking and learning about each other.
2. Understanding the Irish mental health system - what help you can expect from each division and how to access suitable accredited professional help.
3. Up to date resources for health and wellness - to support you, your colleague or your family as you work.
4. Information for management companies - free downloadable guides and learning together from survey evaluations how to provide an open understanding working environment.
5. A live platform for promoting talk amongst our peers - continuing an online conversation to influence offline conversations and gestures.
For this we are seeking funding of €10,000 for website design, build, hosting and launch costs.
We ask that you help through sharing and getting this gofundme into the right hands, or by donating as much as you can and helping us get this ready for use.
Additional funds will be used to craft bigger and better peer support heading into 2021/2022.
We do not seek funding for any other objectives/salaries.
This is organised by us, for us, not-for-profit, pro-bono.
All information provided on the website will be monitored and reviewed by accredited mental health professionals.
With thanks from,
Claire, Rowan & all at The Cowshed.