The Cowshed is a free peer health and wellness support group for all professionals in the Irish arts & live entertainment industry, tv & film, available since 2019.
Collectively we have all been through a lot - suicide, depression, addiction, loss and just plain old stressed out. Simply put, these are issues that have been in the dark in our community for a very long time - and in Ireland we must evaluate our own local industry and seek to provide a supporting net.
Our industry is welcoming and a haven for many who strive despite the additional pressure of managing wellness. We mind each other as best we can.
The hardest part is understanding, and there's no better start than talking and listening.
Despite being a community driven industry which voices deeply personal thoughts and feelings through music, art, poetry, theatre, sculpture, drama and film - we are also affected by the shame and fear that speaking out about our health, might undermine our professional careers.
The Cowshed was founded in 2019 as a peer support group with an aim to change this - we aim to build on the awareness that, no matter our personal pressures, we are on teams who successfully and expertly deliver projects with excellence.
However, we want the industry to recognise how the benefits of awareness, sharing experiences, understanding and acceptance of our general health can vastly improve our work, our lives, by removing the unnecessary additional pressure of shame, secrecy and judgement.
We aim to learn together, and take action to provide working environments, where wellness requirements are as easily embraced as our dietary requirements are.
So far The Cowshed offers the following free services:
1. Cowshed online peer to peer support forum - via our fully confidential, 24/7 monitored facebook group. A haven where members can talk with their peers from all over the world about health issues they are having, air their worries or problems and seek real time support from others in the industry who have been through similar experiences. Built by us, for us.
2. Peer to peer interview podcasts called The Tech Check - where we have frank conversations about the health and wellness issues prevalent for those who work in the arts & live entertainment industry, tv & film. The aim here is also to smash the myths associated and to show how many of us continue to hide, carry or work through health issues alone. Slowly building an audience organically and 5 months in, we have 600+ listeners a month. Built by us, for us.
3. Help accessing professional services - we actively listen and encourage accredited professional health support. The unique peer to peer, non-corporate approach helps direct crisis or struggling members to the right professional support 24/7. Built by us, for us.
You Are Not Alone - Let's Talk