Dean Stobbs – “I will reduce stigma through education”

Dean Stobbs – “I will reduce stigma through education”

A definite go to when it comes to mental health, all with which it surrounds, is music, it matters not what genre, just pull up a seat, relax, and listen to your favourite music – it really does help.

South Tyneside musician, Dean James, who for more than fifteen years worked in the NHS, and in mental health, has taken ‘Mental Health in Music’ to the next level, thanks to the degree in which he earned at the Gateshead Academy of Music.

Pulling out some Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll music as the lead with ‘Dean James and the Black Dogs,’ the musician, now in his mid-forties, has brought forth a new business enterprise in ‘Dean Stobbs MWP,’ putting his BSc Hons in Music & Sound degree to use in becoming a Mental Wellbeing Practitioner (MWP) – using musical medicine to help raise ones self-esteem through the power of music.

According to his website, his role, mission statement if you will, “is to work into our mental health and education sector, with the aim to bring awareness of the mental health issues that are affecting our communities.

“I will reduce stigma through education, and raise self-esteem through the medium of music.”  

Speaking to Dean, as we have done on many occasion when concerning his music, it’s easy to place his passion in the progression of mental health awareness, and what that means to him.

The pathway in which he currently fins himself on, is a change to what he has done previously, making the move into further education, and, in turn, a new career if you will, for the betterment of both himself, and for others.

“I decided, three years ago, and with all that was happening around me, that I needed some sort of way out,” began Dean.

“It was because of that I ended up at South Tyneside College.

“I was struggling to sleep, among other things, whilst asking for a way out.

“I sat, and talked things through with my partner, then, next thing you know, I’m enrolling on a course – it was certainly the best thing I’ve done.

“I missed out on so much because of the pandemic as well, everything just, stalled, but I managed to succeed, educationally, and now, I’m looking forward to do the Masters.”

There was some trepidation when Dean returned to higher education; it is a challenge at the best times but, in going back into something you’ve already done, will add some extra pressure.

“I never wanted to go back into mental health, if I’m honest,” added Dean.

“But, one of the modules on the course re-opened that door for me.

“That, and the educational establishment itself was calling out for someone to talk to both staff, and students.

“I therefore put what was, at the time, a basic presentation, and spoke to the staff first, and then my fellow students, seeing what was affecting them, and what could be done to help them.

“My portfolio therefore saw me looking at trying to do something, similar to what I’ve got now.”

What of the degree itself though? Challenges befall everyone in life, and, as a student, of any age and gender, there can be untold troubles, a lot of which aren’t visible.

“It taught me that you can’t go into anything unprepared,” explained Dean.

“The pandemic though, it certainly had a knock-on effect and brought mental health, in all of us really, to the fore.

“It makes no difference whether you are a musician or not, it effects everyone, and with that, music relates to everyone and enhances individual experiences.

“There’s a sorcery, an alchemy around music.”

Having suffered himself from mental health issues, including that of PTSD, Chronic Anxiety etc, Dean is well-placed to have some inkling, an idea, as to how to progress.

It also rings truthful that, if someone has been through it themselves, it’s a little easier to talk to them instead of your textbook answers.

“Me, I’m human, an optimist, and always look at keeping the proverbial glass half full,” continued Dean.

“You have to be mindful yourself, empty your head, and create a little space in your life.

“Yes, I’ve got plenty happening, but you do have make that time for you.

“I’ve got several clients. Long-term ones, who’ve come to me over the past six months or so.

“They are people that I’m helping both musically, as well as with their confidence, communication.

“I’ve also got a few music projects ongoing, workshops, you just have to keep the ball rolling, moving forward, and see what happens”

Services provided by Dean Stobbs MWP include that of 1-1 Guitar/Vocal Tuition, Outreach Program, Song writing Workshops, and Mental Health Awareness Training; to keep up-to-date, and for further information, check out his Facebook and the website.