Q&A with Jack Davis, Founder of UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation

by Mental Movement Magazine
UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation

Meet Jack Davis; founder of UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation and passionate social entrepreneur carving out a unique path in the world of mental health support and advocacy.

As the founder of UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation, Jack brought to life a visionary initiative that caters to the unique needs of the Alternative community. With a deep-rooted belief that life should be enjoyed, Jack saw the challenges faced by the alternative community and decided to take action to make a meaningful difference in their lives.

UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation is fast becoming renowned for its commitment to providing free mental health counselling services and what sets Jack and his foundation apart is their unwavering commitment to offering both online and face-to-face counselling services in the UK’s music charity landscape for 18-35 year olds. With tailored-made rooms designed to foster a sense of comfort and connection, UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation is making a profound impact on the lives of those within the Alternative community.

Let’s dive into our Q&A with Jack:

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind founding UPRAWR Mental Health Foundation and the unique needs of the Alternative community that you sought to address through your foundation?

It all started when Link Park’s front man Chester Bennington took his own life, the loss profoundly effected on our community, and for me it was the first time the difficulties surrounding mental health had been highlighted and made real. It was clear that more needed to be done to support people that were suffering and we decided to take it upon ourselves to make sure more support was available.

Music plays a significant role in the lives of many within the Alternative community. How do you incorporate music and the UPRAWR brand ethos into your counseling services?

UPRAWR started as a club night 13 years ago, we’ve had weekly clubs in 7 UK cities, hosted stages and provided opening/ after parties at major festivals (recently including Download, SlamDunk and BMTH Malta), and have our own Rehearsal Studios.

So when launching the Charity we were able to bring all that into the ethos and branding of what we were doing. Turning rehearsal rooms into counselling suits and calling on Industry friends like Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Adam Zindani of The Stereophonics to become Patrons.

It took a little while to find the right balance between “loud” and “respectable” with the imagery and branding but we’re very happy with where we’ve landed. Brave, Optimistic and Trusted, not Stuffy, Judgmental or clinical.

Mental health advocacy often involves breaking down stigma. How does UPRAWR work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health within the Alternative community?

We’re finding the simplest thing we can do at this point is just encourage people to talk and comment on mental health related things. We post a lot of quotes and interviews from respected bands and individuals from our “scene” which just serves to remind our followers that they aren’t alone in suffering with these difficulties. The stigma for a lot of people comes from the fear of being judged, so openly seeing other people in their position being able to speak without fear of judgment helps them do the same.
We’re currently working on two very substantial events with the primary focus being combatting stigma.

Could you share some success stories or memorable moments from your journey with UPRAWR so far?

I think the most memorable moment from me so far was our launch night.

We held a mental health seminar for 450 people where Oliver Phelps (George Weasley – Harry Potter) gave the Key Note speech, speaking for the 1st time about his struggles with mental health and near suicide attempt that caused him to get help. The night was extremely powerful and moving and we got dozens of messages following it from people saying it had convinced them to finally seek help.  

We are super passionate about therapeutic spaces feeling aligned, accessible and inspiring. The rooms you’ve designed look amazing, they almost feel as if they belong to a backstage area and you mentioned they double up as recording studio space – can you talk us through your process with this as I think a lot of services could learn from you in terms of how spaces can become a key part of a clients transformative journey.

We were aware that one of the barriers to seeking help is the stereotype image of the counselling room with the clinical hospital feel and the sad lifeless furniture that could be used in the waiting room of a dentist or the staff room of a high school.

These traditional rooms are set up so they can be assessable to everyone, and although the “one size fits all” approach sounds “inclusive” on the surface, if you already feel like you don’t matter, these design options can give the subconscious impression that it wasn’t designed with YOU in mind. And if you don’t feel like you’re “normal”, these “normal” rooms can make you feel like you don’t belong there.

With this in mind, when we designed our spaces we wanted our target demographic to see the rooms and know that it was designed with them in mind, to give the subtle subconscious message that this is a place they can feel at home and comfortable.

It helps take away from the clinical or judgmental stereotype we’ve all seen on TV and also helps “humanise” the counsellor, as the “doctor” perception is subtly taken away by them being in a room that’s fit to be the backstage for your favourite band. For us we believe that stylising to fit a specific demographic can make them feel much more understood.

We couldn’t agree with you more and think you’ve done an incredible job with this. What’s the north star for UPRAWR? Where would you like the foundation to be in 5 years time?

Our goal is to become the biggest private provider of mental health in the country, and to open other sites around the UK. We want to make sure the entire Alternative community is supported and help is available when needed.

Where can people connect with UPRAWR online and learn more about your services? 

You can visit www.uprawrfoundation.org or check us out on Instagram @uprawrmentalhealthfoundation

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