Bhishma Asare had a passion for music and a need to help young people in his local community. With mental health statistics on the rise, it was the perfect time and space to create a community interest company called Rap Therapy.
Rap Therapy offers a series of workshops, which uses rap as a tool to teach students how to positively express themselves and become more creative. The core focus of the workshop is to improve communication between young people and influence positive ways of expression, and in turn improving their mental health. The workshops equip students with transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and listening skills, which they can use in and out of their classrooms.
This week, as part of the Wednesday Wellness series, the London Living team caught up with Bhishma Asare to find out more about Rap Therapy including the free rap therapy session they will be hosting as part of the upcoming wellness weekend, Elefit on 27th – 28th April in Zone 1’s Elephant and Castle, Castle Square. To view the full timetable of events at Elefit, vist: http://www.elefit.co.uk/
What is the story behind Rap Therapy and how did it get started?
Rap Therapy began after the release of an album which I had created called “Invisible Guidelines”. The album got lots of media coverage from The Metro, The Guardian, The advertiser and many more. The album spoke about the area which he is from (Thornton Heath) and the change he would like to see in the area, especially in regards to antisocial behaviour and violent crimes such as knife crime and gang violence. After the release of the album in early 2018, he began to put what he was saying on the album into action and aimed to create positive change and expression for the young people in his area. He came up with an idea (Rap Therapy) that would help strengthen young people’s mental health by allowing them to positively express themselves and be pushed beyond their creative ability. After piloting it in schools and local libraries it was clear there was a need for Rap Therapy and it vastly began to expand. Our mission is to improve the creativity, positive expression and mental health of young people, which in turn prevents social tragedies.
Can you go into a little more detail on your workshops, what they are about, how each one is different, and the benefits?
Each workshop that Rap Therapy runs is tailor made for the school/youth establishment that we go into. Teachers/Youth workers may have different needs such as young people learning to work better in a team or young people understanding in more depth self-love. We tailor each package to match the schools criteria and all of the games that we play have meaning and teaches young people different expression methods along with different ways to write raps. Our four-week workshop in schools (one hour per week on one given day) gives young the opportunity to learn about rhyme schemes, metaphors, similes writing and development along with them experiencing a digital recording session with a professional engineer and state of the art equipment. The young people get completion certificates along with a download link to the song they recorded and schools get a detailed report on the progress of the young people. Rap Therapy delivers these workshops in schools and youth establishments for £450. We also deliver yearly courses and one off workshops in schools and youth establishments.
Do you have a story of someone who has attended one of your sessions which has made a huge difference to their mental health in which you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, there are many stories of young people who have found joy in expressing themselves through rap, where it has made a huge difference. We do get thank you messages from school teachers for improvement on young people’s mind states in regards to walking away from confrontations and not getting into fights, parents who commend and thank us for the work we do with their children and young people themselves who constantly ask for advice and thank us for making a difference to their lives.
You will be doing a free Rap Therapy session at the upcoming Elefit event from 2pm on Saturday 27th April 2019. Can you share what this session might involve?
The Rap Therapy session will be ran by two of our amazing presenters – Riolistic and Mish, they will have young people understanding rhyme schemes along with playing rap based games. The young people will have the opportunity to win small prizes along the way with one young person winning our “Star Student” prize at the end. Students will have a final task that subliminally teaches them that you can Rap about anything especially when it comes to mental blocks when revising as they will be converting a story book into a rap, with the chance to perform at the end.
What is the future of Rap Therapy?
Rap Therapy is developing and expanding rapidly. It has high demand in schools and youth clubs across Croydon and London and we are aiming to expand it so we are in the majority (if not all) schools and youth establishments in London. Eventually we would like to expand further to young offenders and further out in the UK to places such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
Apart from Rap Therapy, what are some other tools someone could improve their mental health?
A very easy way to improve your mental health is by talking to someone on a regular basis how you feel, it could be someone that you meet up with weekly and talk about your week or it could be picking up the phone to call someone at the end of the day to talk about your day. Talking in general is very therapeutic and will improve your mental health.
How can someone be a mentor or volunteer with Rap Therapy?
Where are your favourite places in London to distress, unwind and recharge?
The park is a great place to unwind. It is particularly good on a sunny day where I get the chance to relax. The gym is also a fantastic place to release stress along with different gym based activities such as Basketball. I also relax by watching anime and documentaries as it takes my mind off the busy side of life.
Any other news / info you would like to share with our readers?
You can contact Rap Therapy and request an online or hard brochure which states the packages that we provide for schools and youth establishments via email firstname.lastname@example.org or you could give us a call on 07853783436 where a member of our team will deal with your requests. Have a look at our website for a clear insight of what we do www.raptherapy.co.uk or follow us on social media our Instagram page is: Rap_Therapy_100 and our Facebook and Twitter pages are: RapTherapy100