Swindon Mental Health charity records re-written Christmas single to spread awareness

By Jessica Durston - 8 November 2021


The community of IPSUM Mental Health charity have come together to record a re-written version of the Live Aid track 'Do They Know It's Christmas.'

Mike is IPSUM's Music Studio Facilitator

Staff and volunteers from IPSUM have joined forces to create a seasonal single for spreading mental health awareness.

IPSUM has two music studios available to support mental wellbeing, and the recording of the audio and visuals for the music videos took place in their basement studio - Studio 13. 

Mike Beckley, IPSUM's Music Studio Facilitator recorded each individual participant separately, bringing each sound bite together, creating the Live Aid-style amalgamation of voices for the finished product. 

He said: "Our IPSUM community, were supported by the team to write the lyrics for the single and organise for everyone who wished to take part, to come and get involved. Once the lyrics were agreed and written, all who were interested in being on the track, were assigned a line or two, depending on how much involvement they were comfortable with." 

Ame, IPSUM's Social Media Facilitator explained: "My office is next to Basement Studio 13 and a band were formed through meeting at Ipsum – The Mystic Mondays – were in playing ‘Valerie’ by the Zutons.

“I asked if we could record the group and put them onto IPSUM's YouTube channel. The Mystic Mondays were a hit and became the first in a series of performances by the people who engage with us.

"It has now evolved into something bigger and we have service users getting in touch with us to do a Live Lounge session and/or be on our channel again.”

The IPSUM team says it likes to encourage new and exciting ventures, and during a team meeting, a discussion took place around a Christmas Live Lounge feature.

The support centre's community said they felt it would be poignant not to do a Christmas song, but instead one that spreads awareness of mental health struggles with the backing track of ‘Do They Know It's Christmas. After group feedback and suggestions, the song was rewritten and any final extra thoughts and ideas were encouraged.

One of the many IPSUM clients featuring on the seasonal single is Leah. Leah has been coming to IPSUM since the age of 17, and now almost 23, Leah said she has the confidence to try new things and is currently taking ukulele lessons.

She said: “I got a phone call asking if I would like to have a line to sing on the Christmas track. I accepted and can really relate to the lyrics of the song. When at first I heard it was a Christmas song, I thought it wouldn’t be for me but after reading the words, I realised I could really feel the message.”

“Taking part in the recording of the song helped me to realise that different people are going through the same thing and it helped me to not feel alone in the world. I have family who are so loving and supportive towards me but it’s not the same as having people around you who have suffered the same as you have or gone through the same struggles with their mental health. That’s what’s so great about IPSUM. Other people who have been in similar positions as you can tell you it’s going to be okay.” 

Leah listed music as one of her passions in life and said she dreams of one day travelling around the world and sharing her music. Like the message reflected in the chorus of the song, Leah said she believes everyone should reach out if they are struggling, and that everybody needs a chance to express themselves and how they feel. 

She added: "Music is my escape and I use it to deal with the stresses of the world. Covid and lockdown took a real toll on my mental health, and it has been so nice to get back to IPSUM and see people face-to-face.

“IPSUM is a lifeline and people can come here to escape. I would recommend coming along and doing an assessment to anyone that is struggling with their mental health. Getting involved in projects at IPSUM is a way to channel out all the bad things and be within a positive environment with great staff. It’s just wonderful.”

Furthering the collaborative effort, George a keen video editor and photographer, a supporter of IPSUM, helped the project along by filming and editing the visuals for the song's accompanying music video.

The team said they felt emotional receiving feedback from service users about the song. They said they had participants sharing that they felt honoured to be on the track, and that hopefully many suffering poor mental health will feel understood as they did, when hearing the lyrics. 

Ame said: "I’m seeing people from IPSUM all come together to work on this song. They have never met each other before because they wouldn’t have wanted to sing in front of people beforehand, yet they’re here now and they’re clapping and supporting each other. I sit there witnessing it and it makes me emotional. I’ve never felt such good vibes before. 

“Our wish for this song is that it brings people hope and makes them feel settled and understood. We’re trying to promote this notion that it is okay to be you.”  

Julie Mattinson, Director at IPSUM added: "It’s taken months to create, been lots of fun, but most importantly, brought our community together, which is so important when many feel lonely and isolated at this time of year."

The planned release for the single is 28 November. IPSUM have a YouTube channel where the song will premiere. It will also be accessible via IPSUM's website at https://www.ipsum.care/


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