A study commissioned by Help Musicians UK and undertaken by University of Westminster researchers Sally-Anne Gross and Dr. George Musgrave confirmed what anyone who has every worked in the music industry already knows, the music industry can be bad for your mental and physical health.
They study, titled Can Music Make You Sick?, was the largest known study into the working conditions of musicians.
And what did the survey of over 2,200 musicians reveal?
People who work in the music industry are three times more likely to experience depression compared to the general public and almost 75% reported experiencing panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety.
What are some of the reasons musicians suffer from such high rates of depression? Late hours at music venues, unhealthy eating and drinking habits, the stress of working multiple jobs to pay the rent, relationships with family, friends and partner feelings of inadequacy and a lack of recognition, and a higher rate of drug use.
Researchers Gross and Musgrave said, ‘This research is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the complex relationship between the working conditions of musicians and mental health conditions.
‘The honesty and poignancy of our interviewees has made possible this important work, and informed the service provision being implemented by Help Musicians UK, and for that we are truly thankful. We welcome the new service Music Minds Matter and hope that this research can spark a wider debate both in the music industry about the welfare of those at its heart, and more generally about the challenging nature of precarious work.’
And now Music Minds Matter wants “to change the culture around mental health so that not just those in the music industry, but their fans and all of those in need are more easily able to seek and receive the help that they deserve.” You can donate to the cause here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255