Music is ‘key’ to mental health issues

All those present at the official opening of Tonic.

Picture by Keith Woodland
All those present at the official opening of Tonic. Picture by Keith Woodland
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A CHARITY that wants to tackle mental health problems head-on has opened a music shop in Portsmouth.

Tonic is a charity that uses music and art to support those who are suffering with mental health issues.

Steph Langan, co-founder of Tonic holds the two autographed guitars that will be auctioned for funds

Steph Langan, co-founder of Tonic holds the two autographed guitars that will be auctioned for funds

For years, that group has been looking for a permanent place to call home – and has finally turned that dream into a reality.

The new shop in Highland Road, Southsea, will not only serve as a music shop, but will also be a base of operations for music workshops.

The shop features vinyl records, memorabilia and signed gifts from Duran Duran, among other artists.

Tonic co-founder Steph Langan said: ‘This is something that we have wanted for about five years now, so it means so much to finally have somewhere to call home.

‘We have had so much support from everyone in the community, and it means the world to us.

‘People have raised thousands of pounds for us and we can’t wait to start delivering these workshops to people.’

Cllr Darren Sanders says that the shop will provide a vital service for the city.

He said: ‘This place is fantastic – it is something that is long overdue for the charity, and for the city.

‘Too many people have mental health issues and struggle to find the necessary support.

‘I think this is a big step forward and will make a big difference to those who need it.’

Michelle Sammars, 43, from Fratton, has benefitted from Tonic workshops in the past.

She said: ‘Before I met Steph I had major anxiety issues and didn’t leave the house.

‘She is someone who always has time for you and is so understanding – she genuinely helped me to turn my life around.

‘The charity is brilliant at helping people with mental health problems, and this shop will be an enormous help for them.’