MUSIC AND DEPRESSION

Help Musicians UK is leading a campaign to find solutions to mental health issues in the music industry.

Can Music Make You Sick - Phase 1 release

Today we reveal survey results as part of MAD [Music And Depression]Campaign.

We have published the findings of a study conducted by the University of Westminster and MusicTank, exploring the mental health issues faced by musicians and the wider music industry and asking the question – ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ It gives a striking insight into mental wellbeing in the industry.

  • A staggering 71% of respondents believed they have experienced anxiety and panic attacks.
  • 65% reported they had suffered from depression.
  • The largest ever survey of its kind globally – with over 2,200 respondents 

This suggests musicians may be up to three times more likely to suffer from the illness compared to the general public.

Respondents attributed this to the poor working conditions within the industry including: the difficulty of sustaining a living, anti-social working hours, exhaustion and the inability to plan their time/future.

“My depression is made worse by trying to exist as a musician... Rarely has playing music been detrimental to my health, quite the opposite...but the industry and socio-economic pressures...make this a f*****g s**** industry to try and make a living in”.

The figures raise questions about what the music industry can do to establish a duty of care for those working within it.

Compounding the problem is that 54.8% of those surveyed feel that there is a gap in the provision of services for musicians, with 46.6% wanting to see a dedicated counselling service for musicians.

“I’m not sure I’d say it’s the music that makes me sick. It’s the lack of things I’d consider success. It’s the lack of support doing something that’s not considered “real work””

‘Can Music Make You Sick’, is the largest survey of its kind in the UK, to date with 2,211 musicians taking part. The majority of respondents (66.2%) were between the ages of 18-35, with a relatively even gender split (55.2% male, 43.9% female). The largest group of respondents described themselves as musicians (39%) and worked across a wide variety of genres. Other professions represented included DJs, live crew and music management.

Richard Robinson, HMUK Chief Executive said:

“Sadly the results of this survey don’t come as a surprise and paint a concerning picture of the conditions for those working in the music industry. This survey is a vital first step in helping us to establish the scale of the problem and it highlights the importance of the next phases of the survey, which will provide us with recommendations for launching the first music industry specific mental health service.

As the leading independent charity for musicians we are in unique position to commission this study and be able to look at the impact that working in the music industry has on people’s mental health.”

Our MAD campaign is ongoing with this initial research enabling the charity to hear directly from the music industry on how their working conditions might be affecting their mental wellbeing. Phase two of the survey results will be revealed in early 2017 along with the announcement of a dedicated task force set up to tackle the delicate issue of mental health in the music industry.

Read the full report here.

CAN MUSIC MAKE YOU SICK?

Last week saw leading independent music charity, Help Musicians UK (HMUK), launch a new industry mental health campaign and the country’s first ever academic research into the issue.

Launched as the MAD (Music And Depression) campaign, it sought to break down stigma and start conversations and for the first time, mental health in the industry is getting significant profile across the industry, media and beyond. 

However, although the charity has used a controversial campaign name, the charity is not just looking for headlines and conversation starters as this is only the first phase of the campaign. Its commitment to finding solutions is proven through the commissioning of the study ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’

Led by Sally Gross and Dr George Musgrave of University of Westminster / MusicTank, it will explore how the music industry can have a negative impact on the mental health of those working in it and investigate initiatives that can tackle some of the issues.

Launching the new research at The Great Escape convention, HMUK Chief Executive Richard Robinson said:

“Today’s announcement represents a huge milestone for mental health in the music industry as well as new strategic direction for HMUK as the independent voice for musicians. Help Musicians UK want to build a robust and effective service for those with mental health issues – but we know we have to listen and be part of the conversation. It is all too easy to suggest solutions but we believe our academic study will do more. We want to deliver real change.”

The research begins with a survey that everyone working in music is urged to complete. You will find the survey at: musicanddepression.org.uk/study/

Join the conversation at #MADforHMUK

Mental health to take centre stage at The Great Escape

With mental health in the music industry under the spotlight this week, the UK’s leading independent music charity is taking it further with the launch of an innovative campaign and ground-breaking study.

Help Musicians UK (HMUK) will launch the MAD (Music And Depression) campaign on Friday afternoon and underline its commitment to this vital subject area by commissioning the country’s first academic study into mental health in the industry.

This wide-ranging report entitled ‘Can Music Make You Sick’, to be undertaken by the University of Westminster, will look to not only raise the profile of the issue but more importantly to investigate solutions. HMUK, the only music charity with a significant health and welfare brief, are leading the charge by listening to musicians and those connected to the industry.

The trigger for the study was HMUKs own survey back in 2014 which suggested nearly 70% of musicians had suffered psychological issues. However, whilst the industry has long discussed where the duty of care lies – the charity is keener to investigate potential answers. 

Richard Robinson, Chief Executive of Help Musicians UK, said: “Today’s announcement represents a huge milestone for mental health in the music industry as well as new strategic direction for HMUK as the independent voice for musicians.

“Help Musicians UK want to build a robust and effective service for those musicians with mental health issues – but we know we have to listen and be part of the conversation. It is all too easy to suggest solutions but we believe our academic study will do more. We want to build sustainable solutions.”

The MAD concept came from songwriter, artist and entrepreneur, Scott Quinn, who works closely with successful YouTube channel, Ont' Sofa. He approached the charity with the idea to tackle the stigma around mental health and open up a conversation to tackle the topic head on. He will be a key figurehead and spokesperson for the campaign.

Scott adds: "Mental health is something that affects us all in some way or another and it's about time we quash this stigma once and for all. I like to take a common sense approach to raising awareness and I'm excited to launch a new 'MAD’ video series on Ont' Sofa later this year that aims to take a fresh approach to openly discussing mental health in the music industry. Talking about depression doesn't have to be depressing."

The MAD campaign along with the charity’s recent work on musicians’ hearing forms an important new strand of the organisations strategy - headed up by HMUKs newly appointed Director of External Affairs, Christine Brown.

 

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