The Recovery Through Music programme provides safe and supportive environments for people to come together, learn new skills, get creative, and make new friends. The programme comprises Creative Workshops, the Tonic Ska Choir and the Tonic Punk Choir.
If you would like to attend a workshop or choir, you will first need to register with the programme.
We support people both within and outside of mental healthcare services.
If you experience any problems, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What role could Tonic play in your recovery?
We believe that participation in music and the arts can aid you on your journey of recovery.
Many of our participants have previously been admitted to hospital and use Tonic as their way of staying well.
Others use Tonic to aid their transition back into the workplace after a period of mental ill health.
Many more have made new friends and built a support network through Tonic.
We help people to build their resilience, self-worth and confidence through positive risk-taking, accomplishment and artistic expression.
If you would like to talk to a member of Team Tonic about how we could help you, please contact:
Tonic Music for Mental Health provides free workshops to support people recovering from mental illness.
Art & Craft
Tonic Workshop Promo
Tonic Ska Choir
The Tonic Ska Choir is an uplifting choir that provides opportunities for people to come together and sing covers of the biggest ska tunes.
The choir performs at gigs, festivals, rallies and events, as well as recording covers in a professional recording studio.
The Tonic Ska Choir was funded by The Specials through their Encore album launch at the 100 Club and the tour that followed.
Tonic Ska Choir - Sweet Sensation
Tonic Ska Choir - A Message to You Rudy
Tonic Ska Choir - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah
Tonic Punk Choir
The Tonic Punk Choir is an invigorating choir that provides opportunities for people to come together and sing covers from the 70s British punk scene. The choir began in March 2020.
The Tonic Punk Choir is not currently meeting.
“It gives me a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and a safe place to go where my anxiety and mental health problems are accepted as a part of me – they are nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Within the first few minutes I knew I was in the right place. The atmosphere was light and inclusive, the leaders enthusiastic and encouraging, and when the singing kicked in you couldn’t help but feel a lift both mentally and physically.
“Finding the choir when I did was so important to me. It gave me something genuinely good to hold on to during a very dark period. It bought me time to recover, whilst also boosting my self-esteem and speeding my recovery. I’m truly grateful to Tonic for that.”
“Over the coming weeks we became more than just a choir, we became a family. It was about more than just singing – we were looking after each other as well.”
“Before I was involved in Tonic I was lost in a world of drug addiction, living a life I believed I should be living rather than being true to myself. Now free from active addiction, I love nothing more than sharing my struggles with mental health and addiction, and Tonic has been there from the beginning. I’ve gone from someone who was close to passing out with nerves at the first Tonic Ska Choir rehearsals to now confidently performing in front of hundreds. I also proudly talk about Tonic at various fundraising events.“
Darren “Lofty” Churchill
“The ska choir is not only about raising my own spirits and wellbeing. I take great pride in sharing the happiness with those around me, and the audiences we have entertained.”
“The first night there were about twelve of us, but I immediately felt a sense of belonging. As the choir grew and evolved, it gave me purpose and an environment where I could just be me.
“I’ve had the best of times over the past year, and I've made supportive friendships that have come to mean the world to me. I have discovered the joy to be found in communal singing.
“In short, I've found my tribe, and it means the absolute world.”
“The Tonic workshops have proved inspirational. Seeing people come together to create and connect as musicians, poets and artists has such a strikingly positive effect on their mental wellbeing. I have felt privileged to be a part of the process.”
Vinny Peculiar is a musician, singer-songwriter, poet, music workshop facilitator and Tonic trustee. He is formerly a mental health nurse.
“Tonic is about inclusion and embracing everybody that comes to the workshops and the gigs. It's about being there with the people.”
“Music is such an important part in someone’s rehabilitation. I’ve been in a hospital ward where if it hadn’t been for a beaten up acoustic guitar with 3 strings, I probably wouldn’t still be here.
“Unfortunately, music isn’t one of those things that can be prescribed on the NHS. It can’t be. They will prescribe therapies and drugs, which are fantastic in their place, but as a recovery tool and occupational therapy music really should be up there. I’ve been in a state where I’ve been quite poorly, but there has been a beaten up guitar that you can just pick up, go somewhere on your own with, and then play music.
“If you're musically minded it can be fantastic. But even if you’re not musically minded, taking the time to try and learn something, or make a sound, can be just as good. You can be as angry as you like with a musical instrument - no one cares.”
“I found out about Tonic at the Portsmouth International Kite Festival where they were hosting a stall to raise awareness about mental health and the groups and activities they have to offer. It couldn't have come along at a better time in my life for me!
“I had just completed a drug and alcohol rehab and have suffered from anxiety, bouts of depression, and a lot of self-doubt over the past 20 years. Steph and everyone running the stall were so friendly, comforting, and welcoming, and it put me at ease, so I started to ask some questions.
“This, combined with a love of all types of music and art, has proven to be a truly winning combination for me the past year. I started to attend the art and then later music groups, and found them to be very fun, but most importantly great for my self worth.
“I have met some amazing people at these groups and made some strong friendships with people who can understand some of the feelings I get. It feels like an extended family to me. The groups were thoroughly enjoyable and we have created some outstanding art and music together which I believe has a truly positive effect on the way I think and feel.
“Tonic has given me an outlet to talk about my problems with people I can trust, and any advice I have received has always been a great help. I get as much help from Tonic as I have done from any other service I have engaged with, and in many cases more so.
“I feel that my personal development has vastly improved with the confidence they have helped to rebuild in me. They have massively helped me build a road to a ‘normal’ and successful life, and I feel privileged to be a part of it.”
“I have been involved with Tonic since my son, who has suffered from dyspraxia and mild depression, was invited to a music workshop by the charity. Through music he has found a healthy channel for his frustrations and difficulties. He was able to develop his music skills, increasing his self esteem and self confidence.
“I am convinced that music and the role he has played as a helper and fundraiser for Tonic has drastically reduced his need for treatment and medical intervention. He is now going to university to study music and is considering using the skills that he developed at Tonic to train as a musical therapist.”