We’ve put these together to help explain who we are and what we are about.
1. We all have struggles
We work on the basis that mental health difficulties exist on a continuuum. So everybody has some struggles in life, ranging from the day to day, up to the more extreme. We don’t think there’s necessarily a clear line where you would say that something has become ‘abnormal’ and we probably all move up and down that continuum all the time. We have people who follow hmt who have used services extensively and others who never have and wouldn’t want to. We don’t think that we are a replacement for services, but an addition and/or a forum for any metalhead who has ever struggled with being distressed.
2. Sharing our stories is powerful
We believe that by sharing our stories of how heavy metal music has helped us to manage difficult times we can inspire and help others. The process of sharing and giving that information to others can also be therapeutic in itself. You can read some of our stories at heavymetaltherapy.co.uk/stories
3. We are all equal partners
There are some people who follow and contribute to heavy metal therapy who have professional training, or even are ‘experts’ in heavy metal or mental health. There are some people who contribute who have a lot of lived experience to reflect on. We are all equal in the process and have influence on the project (no one tells anyone else what to do). HMT isn’t professional advice or actual therapy, it’s about sharing resources and experiences. Here’s a blog we wrote about Co production and HMT.
4. Metal helps us process feelings
We consider research about heavy metal music and how engaging with metal might be helpful. We are also aware of the previous damaging stereotypes that came with being a metalhead in the past and the assumption that it was bad for you or even that you were a bad person for liking it. We are particularly interested in the research and theories that suggest that metal can help people to process feelings and engage with challenging parts of themselves in healthy ways. Many people in the community will say how metal saved them, keeps them sane or helped them through a very difficult time.
You can read more about metal research at heavymetaltherapy.co.uk/metal-university
5. All ways of explaining mental health count equally
Some people describe their struggles as being part of a biological illness, some say it is a consequence of life events or wider societal issues, some people may have a spiritual explanation of what’s going on for them. We don’t hold any of these ideas as more or less valid, they all count and we tolerate different perspectives. You may notice that we tend not to use a lot of diagnostic labels and such on here (partly because of point 1) but if you have a diagnosis and find this a helpful way to understand things then we won’t stop you saying it on here! If you are against diagnosis that’s also cool with us. Same goes for perspectives on meds, use of services and what helps you/others. What’s not cool is slagging each other off about different views, that stuff will get moderated.
6. It’s not about money
We are not a business, we’re not even a charity, we don’t formally endorse or support particular charities financially. No one gets paid for running or being involved in HMT. If we ‘make’ any money it goes back into the coffers for awareness raising stuff. If you buy owt off us you are just covering our costs, spreading the word, and looking exceptionally cool by repping our stuff. Some of us have related jobs that are generous enough to support/tolerate our activities but we basically do it for the love of metal. If you want to help that’s cool, but there’s no money. We have some complicated thoughts about mainstream mental health campaigns, one day we might write something about that…..
7. We don’t chase celebrities
Have 100k followers on insta cos you’re in a band and wanna rep us? Cool, thanks, we appreciate it.
Have 3 friends on Facebook and never leave your room and wanna rep us? Cool, thanks, we appreciate it.
Seriously tho, we recognise that most bands and musicians are brands, that promotion of their stuff is important to them, it adds a sometimes uncomfortable spin on things for us. We don’t want to compromise any of our values to get someone famous to support us (that’s not the same as if they choose to, as we said, we appreciate it). But… HMT was not formed for or by celebrities, we are by ‘ordinary’ metalheads for all metalheads.
8. No trolling bands/genres
Look, we all know that person who only listens to progressive depressive grindcore or whatever. A lot of metal forums seem to consist of people trolling each other about ‘real metal’. We like to cater to most tastes, we even adopt a degree of genre flexibility on the playlists and stuff we share. If someone shares something that they like, and it’s personal to them, they put themselves out there (and as you might imagine we are all about respecting vulnerability). Therefore we will not tolerate anyone being mean about their choices and we do moderate that stuff quite strictly. If you want to see more features about stuff you like, more extreme metal for example, share it with us, we will put it out there.
9. We go tats out, always
Most metalheads will be familiar with the idea of being judged on their appearance. It’s a bit complicated this, because lots of us also feel that looking a particular way is a core part of our ‘metal identity’. Tattoos are often part of this, (see this part of our website for more) as are band shirts/battle vests/long hair. We get invited to speak and stuff sometimes, or represent HMT from an academic or professional standpoint, but we think it’s important to be genuine in our metal identities as well. So we go tats out, doesn’t matter where or what we are doing, because that’s who we are.
10. Always double knot in a mosh pit.
Finally, we ask you to take care of yourselves and each other out there – in the mosh pit, and also more generally. So as far as HMT is concerned please heed the trigger warnings, remember it’s sweary and contains dark themes and please be supportive of each other. We are not a substitute for services/actual therapy and are not crisis support, we might be able to point you to such places but it’s up to you guys to take responsibility for if you take that up. We moderate things accordingly if needed…..
See this blog about having a great time in a mosh pit, which is also where we nicked that phrase from 🤘🏻