Photo of Miranda Arieh

Miranda Arieh

Miranda Arieh is a Leeds-based musician and ardent supporter of mental health. She’s been nominated by Margaret MB. Margaret says: “Miranda’s actions help specific charities and a larger community. She helps demystify mental health issues/illness and has inspired many people to seek help.”

Sharing her own experience makes people think if Miranda can talk about her anxiety on stage, so can they. She says: “I was sectioned into adolescent psychiatric unit at Highroyds Hospital, Menston at the age of 15. I had been running away from home multiple times and was self-harming and getting into some dangerous situations.”

Involved in charities such as Mind, Miranda has gone on to become a mental health coach. She uses her music and stage presence as the platform for discussing and normalising speaking up about mental health issues.

Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?

Miranda is one of the organisers of the Feel the Benefit charity event which supports mental health services. She also runs a ‘Bring your own Baby’ choir, to enable women to do something for themselves which they could not otherwise afford due to childcare costs.

Margaret MB says: “Last year I attended a ‘Feel the Benefit’ event. A member of audience stopped me to tell me Miranda saved his life. Some time ago she spoke on stage telling people it was ok to feel rubbish, and that help was available. So, instead of listening to the voices that told him to kill himself, he went to his GP. 

I am certain this is only one example of many and believe Miranda deserves to be recognised and supported so there are even more people with such a story.”

Miranda says “I’ve released five charity singles which have raised over £1000 for mental health charities such as Time To Change and Mind. I have also played at countless events, rallies and fundraisers.

I also set up my own not-for-profit events organisation called Feel The Benefit. Through this, I’ve put on music and art benefit shows in Leeds over the past decade, raising funds for local charities such as The Royal Park Community Consortium, Leeds Anti Sex Trafficking Network (LAST), Leeds Mind and Time To Change Leeds.

Most recently was the one I co-organised and played at last year as a part of Love Arts Leeds Festival to raise funds for SARSVL and Womens Counselling and Therapy Services.”

What’s worked?

Miranda says: “Not long after being transferred from Leeds Safe House, I was put into foster care. Soon  after that was I sectioned for nine months. I first picked up a guitar in hospital. It only had one string but I wrote song after song after song on it.

I found it the most therapeutic tool to express myself. To be able to write how I was feeling has always made things seem so much clearer in my head.

I share my story regularly to help break down stigma and inspire others to do the same, I sing about how what we feel does not define who we are as people. Music, to me, is a language that crosses all borders and allows communication on  a mass level, through the strongest of energies which is emotion and feeling.

To be able to give people a feeling which helps them, in whichever way, from listening to a song is an amazing feeling. Nowadays, I still like to write as a form of self-expression and healing but I have also written countless songs to raise awareness of mental health challenges. I’ve raised funds for mental health charities and to helped to empower people.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“I’ve trained as a mental health coach and mental health support worker, running support groups across the whole of Yorkshire with Mind, coaching individual clients and support working on the front line of mental health services, using creativity as a tool to help people express themselves.

I believe true empathy is one of the most important qualifications to be able to do a job working in mental health support well. My main challenge was overcoming my fear of sharing my story and the shame and fear of judgement I had carried along with it. This is the self-stigma which can often be the most damaging kind.”

What’s next?

“My vision is to use my music as a platform to speak about challenges we are currently facing in our society such as ageism, mental health/the suicide epidemic and womens rights.

The last song I released was about women being silenced, especially as they get older in the mainstream. I encourage them to ‘talk out loud’ about their experiences.

I’m due to release my brand new single ‘Soul Price’ on the 17th November. This will be with a video which will be released on my music page. The song is about pretending to be someone who you are not, due to shame or fearing other’s judgements.  I suppose this is quite fitting from what I have just been saying!

It’s also about how nobody owns you as a person and you are always your own. The song is very upbeat and bouncy. It’s delivered in a fun manner and has a striking video to match. My next single and video is called ‘Impossible’. It’s inspired by meeting a female sex worker and will be released in January 2018. It will be followed by my whole album, ‘Ferine’, to be released in March 2018.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

“I’d love to meet anyone who could help me reach a wider audience with my music, and also anyone who could help me fundraise on a wider scale for the mental health charities I am involved with.

I’d love to connect with other women in the field of mental health/creative writing/ women making music. I would love to make contact with more people from organisations such as Time To Change to share my story to help break stigma.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!