Certain variables change when attending day parties: location, weather, your outfit, it goes on. But the one thing that always stays the same is your intention, to have a bloody good time.
Unless you’re at an (eponymous) day party hosted by Melbourne-based not-for-profit, Dance For Your Mind (DFYM).
In that case, you’re not just having fun, you’re boogying for a cause—to help banish the stigma around mental health issues.
Having experienced depression at a young age, DFYM Founder Sammy Swayn had always been thinking of ways that he could give back. It was only last year that he decided to channel his personal experience and expertise in producing day parties and events (including Back Alley Social and The Petting Zoo) to create DFYM, a not-for-profit that donates all proceeds to Beyond Blue.
“I first started doing events when I was 19 years old and it was around a similar time that I started becoming eager to do something to help in some way. I’d always spitball ideas to my mum about ways I could perhaps help and raise some awareness about mental health. A lot of the ideas I came up with were pretty outrageous and she politely guided me in the right direction.”
After many years of distilling, Sammy realised that the best way for him to give back was by doing what he does best. “I’m good at putting on events and having a laugh. It was so obvious that it’s what I should have been doing this whole time. Then I put it out to some of my mentors and my mum and she was like, that’s a great idea.”
Looking back on when the event first went live online, Sammy says he knew he was doing the right thing because the response he got was incredible.
Then in December, the Facebook event became an IRL day party and Sammy’s dream became a reality. That day, DFYM’s inaugural event at Port Melbourne’s Colonial Brewing Co raised $800, all which has been donated to Beyond Blue.
The party featured a line-up of dance providers including UK-based DJ ABSOLUTE., as well as much-loved local talent. “I had a few people open up to me that quite possibly never would have if I hadn’t have done this. It meant that I got to connect pretty deeply with a few people and just touch on our personal stories. It’s all about human connection, it’s a shame that it’s getting lost these days.”
Moving forward, the DFYM team are looking at how they can continue to contribute to the mental health conversation by extending the event into something more.
“In the future, we want to be able to provide services for people. We want to build it out as an overall tool to align with your lifestyle, for example, healthy hints and tips. We’re looking at a Spotify account with different playlists for being calm and for meditation—a mix of classical, upbeat tunes and so on, something different. We just want to continue to build awareness, keep the conversation open and get people talking.”
For now, if you’re wondering how you can get behind DFYM, they’re excited to confirm that their second-day party will be taking place in June this year. Stay tuned on the DFYM Facebook page and Instagram for announcements.
Not sure which event at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is right for you? Check out our rundown of the best events here.
Image credit: Sammy Swayn