We Have the Exclusive on London’s Punk4MentalHeath Event

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A month or so ago I did an article about Kathy DiTondo the co-author of “I Was a Teen Guitarist 4 The Clash“, “Meeting Joe: Joe Strummer, Me and the Clash” and the driving force behind PunkAid and the Teen Clash Awards. Kathy has recently been in London organising the Punk4MentalHealth event which will be held in March 2017 and I am very lucky to have been given the exclusive for this event. But before we get down and dirty with the Punk4MentalHeath event, it’s important we understand the driving force and inspiration behind this wonderful event.

What is Kathy DiTondo’s Brain Child Punk4MentalHealth and what is the First Goal?

Punk4MentalHealth is a fundraising event for charity that will occur the last week in March 2017 in London. This event has three principal goals. The first goal is to raise much need funds for cutting -edge mental health research by the brilliant psychologist Dr Joel Vos who is based in London and is known as the “Punk Professor.Dr Vos has been a life saver for Kathy in helping her coming to terms with the death of her sister Linda DiTondo. Before we learn more about what Dr Vos is doing, it is important we learn a little more about Kathy’s sister Linda who is the inspiration behind Punk4MentalHealth

 

My Lost Sister Linda – Kathy DiTondo

I am involved with Punk4MentalHealth in the memory of my beloved sister Linda, who I lost last year. Linda struggled with depression and bipolar disorder amongst other things. There is no doubt in my mind Dr Vos will help many in England , throughout the United Kingdom and across the world who battle with mental health-related issues because of the unique way he approaches this subject. How I wish Linda could have met him, she might not have suffered as she did throughout her life.

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Linda DiTondo as a child

When Linda was well, she was the sweetest, kindest, most giving and understanding person ever, and so many people would tell my mother and myself “Kathy your sister understands everything, she gives the best advice!” Mother and I would nod in agreement and later we’d say “If only Linda would listen to her own advice!” It was an entirely different situation for Linda and our family when she was in the throws of her mental illness. At times she was hell on wheels, she did and said things she would never do or say when she was well. What a contrast to the last time I saw her in early April 2015. Linda was completely defenceless, the beautiful flawless completion she had most of her life was now an awful greyish colour, she was tied up to oxygen and gasping for air, in her bed in the hospice section of the hospital in Florida, where she eventually grew her wings.

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Linda DiTondo

I’d been in Prague during the last months of her life, involved in the DIY Commercial Zone 2014 project amongst other matters, which I will elaborate on a little later. To be faced with seeing Linda on that spring afternoon as she lay dying was mind numbing, still I was in such denial I asked her nurse and doctor when might i bring my sister home as I’d done prior times when she was hospitalised,  and of course,  this time was different, there would be no bringing Linda home,  not ever.  After she passed, I refused to attend Linda’s funeral, I didn’t speak with certain family members for a long time because it would have required us to speak about her. I put away Linda’s pictures and anything that reminded me of my deceased sister,  I kept busy,  I didn’t cry,  I buried all theses emotions and feelings but sometimes they would pop up but mainly I built up all these walls. Despite all my efforts,  Linda’s loss left a hole in my life and heart, that seemed to be getting bigger not smaller over time.  I kept thinking how I wished I could turn the clock back. I would have done so many things differently as it related to my sister. I suffered from deep depression over Linda,  for me,  there was no relief in sight until I met Dr Vos and eventually became involved in Punk4MentalHealth,  it was only then that I finally began to face reality.

 

Dr Vos has a unique approach to mental health, Kathy had the opportunity to work with and have gotten to know a number of extremely talented psychologists and psychiatrists in her professional and personal life including those who treated her sister Linda, however,  none approached mental health quite like the way  Dr Vos does. Dr Vos teaches that irrespective of the root cause of one’s personal struggle leading to mental health issues: Whether it is due to a disease of the mind or a serious physical condition such as cancer or a personal crisis such as the break up of family or financial issue,  such as being made redundant or the death of a loved one

We can still live in a parallel authentic, meaningful and satisfying life.

Dr Vos’s teachings in this regard really had impacted Kathy in a profound way. Let’s consider the implication: Dr Vos acknowledges that a person may suffer a mental health issue such as depression as Kathy did after losing her sister, however,  unlike others who believe treatment lies in a prescription such as Xanax or some other drug. The true and best answer to many of life’s problems is not in a pill. Quite frankly all that does is create potentially another set of problems such as addiction and or harmful side effects. While it is true that a pharmaceutical might simply blur one’s mind and allow one to escape reality for a while, but once it wears off you are back to square one and the cycle starts again. A pharmaceutical will not ever change that fact that Kathy’s sister Linda has been torn from her life forever, it also can not address the devastating guilt and pain she has experienced since her death in any satisfactory manner, not able to run away or bury these painful feelings,  Kathy knows now that she must grieve and deal with her sister Linda’s death, and thanks to Dr Vos,  Kathy has learnt she can still live a parallel authentic, meaningful and satisfying life as she does, and for Kathy that’s the best and only solution.

Kathy says, meeting Dr Vos has been life changing, he offers a healthy approach which is to recognise that this pain will always be there but she can still live a parallel authentic,  meaningful and satisfying life,  with the knowledge and tools Dr Vos has given her.

Second Goal is to Stop The Stigma!

The second goal for Punk4MentalHealth is to help spread the word and get the message out “stop the stigma” associated with mental illness. Mental illness is a medical condition same as cancer, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and osteoporosis amongst other things, yet it is tragic that in this day and age such an awful stigma is still associated with mental illness still exists and lets face it, this just adds to the burden, which it certainly added to the burden that Kathy’s sister Linda carried all her life.

People, it’s time we stand up as a society and global community and recognise and convey that there is NOTHING to be EMBARRASSED or ASHAMED about if  YOU, a LOVED ONE or a FRIEND suffers from mental illness. Please if you only take one thing from this article let it be that Mental Health Matters! You Matter! It is very sad but unfortunately so many people suffer in silence because of this awful stigma and with in some instances, it results in tragedy. The stigma surrounding mental illness has to end, WE cannot sit by and allow this to continue, so let’s start having the necessary conversations and start it with R U OK? If you or someone you know is struggling, make sure you support them and above all else get the necessary professional help. Funding, unfortunately, is limited for mental health research and treatment. This is yet another matter we must address collectively and why fundraising events like Punk4MentalHealth are so very important.

 

Punk4MentalHealth

Let’s get down and dirty with Punk4MentalHealth and find out what’s in the works for this year’s event. There are a good number of wonderful people involved in this project and as such,  I have been told we can expect wonderful things.
The amazing photographer, artist and visionary,  Patrick Griffin, is central to the planning of Punk4MentalHealth.  Patrick has taken the promotional photos for the event including the photo below of Kathy pictured with some of her original Clash and PiL related artwork.

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Kathy DiTondo with some original Clash & PiL related work/ Photo Credit: Patrick Griffin

 

A good friend of Kathy and true gentleman Tony Gleed of Bugbear Promotions in London and host of Sunday Sync on Soho Radio is also involved. Very few people in London do more to advance the cause of the indie community than Tony. Tony tirelessly arranges venues for alternative bands to play live shows,  one of these venues is at the historic Dublin Castle in Camden. He also arranges special events and one of the events were for Kathy and team whilst they were engaged in a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Commercial Zone 2014. He continues to spread the word about alternative culture including punk and post-punk on his popular Soho radio show.

Punk4MentalHealth will have a series of planned events including  Live Music, A Book Reading from Kathy’s works “I Was a Teen Guitarist” and “Meeting Joe: Joe Strummer the Clash and Me” at the historic Dublin Castle which the awesome Tony Gleed is organising. This will be Kathy’s second appearance at the Dublin Castle, following her appearance there last July.  Earlier this year Kathy was a guest on Tony’s radio show to promote an all-indie event in the united states starring one of my favourite American bands “Sugar Rush Rocks.” You can find Kathy’s interview with Tony below.

 

 

Additionally there will be an art exhibition and auction of very rare punk and post-punk works, which will be held at the sensational Underdog Art Gallery in London Bridge, Kathy is donating her ENTIRE yes ENTIRE collection of punk and post-punk items which include 51% interest in the so -called “Lost 4th PiL albumCommercial Zone 2014.

 

The Third Goal is to Promote Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and Indie Culture

Kathy is a strong supporter and advocate of the Do-it-YourselfDIY” ethos, in which she write about in both of her books “I Was a Teen Guitarist 4 the Clash!” and “Meeting Joe: Joe Strummer, the Clash and Me.” The entire Commerical Zone 2014 initiative and the fruits of that project which came before, during and after the project was pulled off by Kathy and another party completely DIY from the inception, to the development of ideas and right through to creation and execution of the music, art, merchandising, the manuscripts even down to the financing, public relations, the marketing, the brand development, to the sales the IT, customer service and the distribution and more were all done 100% completely DIY and corporate help free. For Kathy there is a strong connection between this DIY project and Linda, with Kathy being heavily involved in all of the aspects of the project during the final months Linda’s life, and there is also a huge connection between mental health and DIY being that DIY is in fact very empowering and it helps you to live an authentic, meaningful and satisfying life and not to mention the satisfaction you get from seeing you compliments whether that be in health, life or in your career.

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Kathy DiTondo London December 2016

Kathy meets people all the time who confide that they hate their “jobs” and like most people they devote the majority of their lives to a job that is completely unfulfilling. She encourages them to pursue their dreams, it take a lot of time and energy and perseverance but it can be done and when these goals are reached it’s the most satisfying and rewarding experience ever.  We have just one life, we should spend a good part of it pursuing our dreams. there should be no deathbed wishes of “woulda, shoulda, coulda”, fear or simply getting into a tired routine often times stopping us from fulfilling our destiny. Kathy is living proof that it is possible to pull off her projects totally indie and completely DIY even with the hurdles she had to face and overcome. If she can do it then anyone can.  She is completely convinced of it and with her ever-growing network of colleagues from all over the world who are also following their dreams the DIY way, You are not alone in your pursuit.

Kathy and her Dream Team will show you how to pull off your dreams the DIY way at some of the talks at Punk4MentalHealth, also the much anticipated 2nd annual Teen Clash Excellence in Independent Awards for best indie company, media, band/artist, drummer and guitarist will be announced at the event, and it goes without saying all the nominees are winners as they are empowered people show that DIY lives even in today’s largely corporate environment.

See you in London!

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Kathy & J

So,  people, if you have a dream you need to pursue it we only get one chance on this earth, you don’t want to waste it by thinking of what coulda been, instead, grab your dream with both hands and take a chance on yourself!  Remember that mental health is an illness and if you need help, please ask, you don’t need to go through it along!

Make sure you save the date March 2017 in London for Punk4MentalHealth in aid of cutting-edge research by the incredible Dr Vos and in memory of Kathy’s dear sister who earned her angel wings after a long battle with a mental illness. Skatronixxx will keep you updated on all things Punk4MentalHealth as it comes to hand in the New Year. You can follow Punk4MentalHealth on Twitter and make sure you also visit their new Facebook page and spread the word of #MentalHealthMatters,  #StampOutTheStigma and #Punk4MentalHealth far and wide.

Below you will find the links to the Punk4MentalHealth Twitter and Facebook page, along with links to learn more about both the Commercial Zone 2014 project and the first two crowdfunding campaigns.


LINKS

Punk4MentalHealth Facebook Page

Punk4MentalHeath Twitter Account

Dr Joel Vos “Punk Professor” Research Information

Background on Commercial Zone 2014

First Two Crowdfunding Projects

Bugbear Promotions Website

The Dublin Castle

The Underdog Art Gallery


picsart_11-16-11-57-57 Presh (@Presh81)

Head Music Writer at Skatronixxx

Love of Music and it’s rich history, Old soul in a youngish body, eclectic music collection and favourite indie artists right now are @EeekFreek @SugarRushRock and @MattStoicSteady

#TurnItOn and #TurnItUp with SkatronixxxMusic

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Comments

  1. hi Carla I’m Kathys son Joseph Wow you wrote a wonderful article about my mom & my aunt Linda.

    Like

    • Hi Joseph! It’s lovely to meet you! Thank you for your kind words, it warms my heart to hear you approve. You should be very proud of both your mom and aunty, both are incredibly strong and beautiful women.

      Warm Regards

      Carla Gordon-Cotter (Presh)

      Like

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