Cardiff DJ whose brother took his own life now using music to help people with their mental health

A DJ from Cardiff has started a community group for musicians, to give young people an outlet for creativity and a safe space to share their emotions.

It is a group born out of heartbreak and loss.

Gemma Smith, 35, set up New Era in 2020 after she lost her brother to suicide. Around the same time, six other close friends also took their own lives.

She said: "I lost them all because they didn't have a safe space to go and talk, go and create and to be themselves and music was always that healer."

Gemma has now partnered with the mental health charity, Mind Cymru, to work with young people to tackle the mental health crisis in Wales.

Gemma Smith runs weekly sessions at a converted church where young people write, perform lyrics and produce music.

At weekly sessions in a converted Church in the centre of Cardiff, young people have the opportunity to develop their musical talent.

They are offered workshops, mentoring, a recording studio, life skills training and a safe space to share ideas.

Most importantly the group is focused on supporting young people's mental health.

Gemma is determined to do what she can to make a positive difference. "Instead of taking my life with theirs, I'm going to do something positive and save lives", she said.

The group is open to anyone under the age of 25.

H.D. is one of the young people who comes along to New Era. He describes the group as "an escape."

"You can just escape from all the things that are bothering you.

"When I'm rapping, it's just emotion or singing, it's just emotion. You can let a lot of pain out through words", he says.

The community group are now working with Mind Cymru to transform mental health through music.

According to Simon Jones from the charity "the mental health of children and younger adults remains one of the biggest challenges facing Wales today".

He says: "It’s an age range that is also among the most financially vulnerable so, against a backdrop of negative headlines, levels of stress, anxiety and depression are a real concern.

“Our message today is that support for your mental health IS out there. Mind, and other organisations, are here for you so please reach out.”

You can find advice and support here.

Samaritans is available day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

The Mental Health Helpline for Wales is available to take your call any time, day or night. Freephone 0800 132 737 or text 'help" to 81066 (charged at standard network rate)

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