Grieving musician who self-harmed takes show on the road to promote mental health recovery

The Westmorland Gazette: Steve Wharton goes on tour next month Steve Wharton goes on tour next month

AN Ulverston musician is taking a one-man tour of Cumbria to show how people can bounce back from mental health issues.

Steve Wharton, 36, is packing his ukelele for a cross-county tour playing gigs and giving talks during July.

The former art student and photographer says the deaths of his brother and father hit him hard.

But he is now determined to break the stigma of mental illness for his No Man Is An Island Tour.

Steve, a former YHA seasonal worker in the Lakes, said: “It took me a long time to understand what was happening when I started to be overwhelmed by mental health problems.”

“In 2006, my self-harm reached its worst point and I severed an artery an several tendons in my left wrist. I was told I wouldn’t be able to play guitar again.

“Eight years later, I’m playing again and music has been a part of my recovery in so many ways.”

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He added: “I have had mental health problems for 20 years. I’m from Cumbria and I understand the socio-economic pressures that compound such problems in the county.

“I also know that things like walking, playing music and feeling part of a community have helped me to manage my illness.”

He added: “We need to promote a culture of recognizing when we have mental illness, talking about it and being proactive in managing it.”

For the last five years, Steve has led a nomadic lifestyle living in China, Lapland and France.

Next month, supported by independent hostels and local businesses, he will start at Kirkby Stephen Hostel on Sunday July 13 and journey, to The Coffee Kitchen in Cockermouth.

He will also call at Sedbergh, Kendal, Bowness, Derwentwater and Buttermere.

At several hostels and cafes along the way, he will sing original songs and talk candidly about his experiences of managing mental health.

Steve has been helped by local and national mental health organizations including Carlisle and Eden Mind, Cumbria CVS, Rethink Mental Illness and Time To Change.

Kendal Calling Festival headliner, Frank Turner, has also lent his support by tweeting about the walk.

The folk-punk singer songwriter said: "Steve is doing a worthy thing, lend the man a hand."

For more information visit stevewharton5.wix.com/nomanisanisland2014

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NoManIsAnIsland2014

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wharton_steve

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