'It starts with us': YMU Group launches mental health initiative

'It starts with us': YMU Group launches mental health initiative

To coincide with World Mental Health Day (October 10), international artist management company YMU Group has launched a wide-ranging mental health and well-being initiative.

The company said the move was designed to take a forward-thinking approach to the ever-changing and challenging landscape faced by its staff and the artists they represent.

The initiative was conceived by YMU Group Music director Martha Kinn (pictured with Years & Years’ Olly Alexander) and implemented in partnership with mental health and well-being specialist Samantha Parker of Parker Consulting, who also co-founded industry charity Music Support.

This new service for YMU Music will include artist assessment sessions including referrals and signposting – where appropriate – to experts and specialists in the field of mental health and addiction, alongside a health and well-being drop-in facility and a therapeutic support group for YMU Music staff.

YMU Group said that it will expand its “already progressive and bold approach to mental health in the workplace and will further embrace its commitment to the ethical duty of care to its staff and artists”. The company also offers six free counselling sessions to all staff through their employee assistance programme.

This new programme will be available to all YMU Group Music employees and the artists it represents.

The life of an artist puts pressure on mental and physical health

Martha Kinn

Kinn said: “Our approach is a holistic one and this service is something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. The life of an artist puts pressure on mental and physical health in ways that are impossible to overstate. This new service felt like a logical progression of our management services. We have no problem investing in digital or brand departments, yet there remains a stigma around talking about – let alone spending money on – the mental well-being of our clients. It’s great that the cultural conversation around mental health is growing but this is not enough: as an industry, we need to take progressive action. We as managers are the ones best placed to make that difference. It starts with us.”

Parker added: “I am delighted to be working with Martha and YMU on this exciting new initiative. Having personally and professionally experienced the stresses of a talent-driven environment, I am passionate about contributing to a new way of thinking about mental health in this area.”

Olly Alexander, a client of YMU Group, said: “ I count myself extremely lucky to have management that always put my mental health first. I know first-hand that being an artist can take a toll on your mental health, just like any profession, and over the years I’ve spent in the industry the support from my team has been invaluable. Everybody’s needs are different but I’m so happy to see these measures are being implemented and strongly believe other management companies need to follow this example.”

Bree Runway, an emerging artist and client of YMU Group said,  “When I was first told about this new initiative from YMU, I was thrilled and eager to get involved. The industry is very tough, shallow and fast-paced so I am so grateful to have my management company open up a mental health department to check in on me with on-going support. So far, it’s taught me to take a moment to take care of myself, unpack any baggage from my past to heal, so I can be my best self which ultimately leads me to being an even greater artist.”

Artists represented by YMU Group include Years & Years, Clean Bandit, Take That, Steve Aoki, Mika, Kurupt FM, Rejjie Snow, Don Diablo, Friendly Fires, Danny Howard, Bree Runway and JNR Williams among others.


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