It is always sad when someone passes on, perhaps even more of a gut wrenching experience when the occasion felt like it could have been prevented. The music industry appears to have an array of stars who for one reason or another left us too soon. With this week being mental health awareness week, it definitely felt like the right time to discuss mental health in the Music Industry. While many artists have come out to disclose their struggles with their mental health, which is certainly a step in the right direction, there is so much more to be done before this issue can be marked as adequately addressed.
The ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ Study, which was conducted last year, concluded that 71.1% (of the 2000 music professionals interviewed)said they had experienced panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety, while 68.5% reported they had experienced depression.
What causes this?
Some potential causes of mental health issues among musicians included financial hardship which came as a result of juggling multiple jobs, dealing with unpredictable pay, and poor working conditions. Additionally it is thought that a third of musicians suffer from eating disorders due to stress and the incessant need to be perfect. Another factor was touring. Artists are travelling more than ever with touring being where the money is. During this process the is less opportunity for exercise, keep a healthy diet and get a sufficient amount of sleep. During tour all of these key human elements appear to be very low on the list of priorities for the vast majority of artists.
The final thing to consider is social media. Like all public figures musicians are subject to a stream of criticism and a lot of time this can be more negative than positive with heaps of hateful comment online. When they are not battling with negativity, they are grappling with the need for validation. Social media inadvertently cultivates an addiction to validation and causes the anxiety that often accompanies the pressure to constantly vie for it. It becomes very easy to lose control and a sense of what is real.
Who can help?
Help Musicians UK
This organisation offers emotional support, professional therapeutic services, counselling and a range of other services to musicians and people within the music industry suffering with mental health issues.
Your Green Room
Your Green Room aims to provide support for artists who’ve been dropped from deals, helping them to get back on their feet and into work. They also offer an initiation programme that equips newly signed artists with the knowledge they need to look after themselves and sustain a long career.
Music Support was founded by those who have previously worked in the music industry. They have launched a helpline as well having safe tents backstage at festivals, which provide a place for everyone working at the event to go to if they need a break or to information on how to get help.
As with most things early intervention is key and it is hoped that articles like this will raise awareness of the resources available to help those in need.