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.