The combined effect of lockdown and uncertainty about the future is taking an unprecedented toll on the mental health of musicians, according to research carried out by Help Musicians.
Results from the charity’s survey highlighted concerning statistics, including the stark figure of 87% of respondents stating that their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic.
Echoing the findings, Help Musicians has seen a 65% rise in requests for help to the charity’s Music Minds Matter service already this year. As a result, Help Musicians is announcing its ambition to significantly expand its Music Minds Matter service (launched in July 2017), widening the range of support options available, with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of all working in the music industry.
Alongside the current 24/7 dedicated mental health support line for the whole music industry, staffed by accredited therapists, two new strands of support will be added to Music Minds Matter:
The creation of a national network of local support groups offering all those working in music the ability to meet together, with experts, to tackle issues such as anxiety and to build resilience.
Targeted signposting to help everyone find the best, most relevant advice and support, from across the music sector and beyond.
Industry bodies have welcomed this approach and committed to work with the charity to ensure that this practical support reaches those in need. PPL has already offered a three-year funding package worth £300,000 to ensure more musicians than ever before can access much needed one-to-one counselling and therapeutic support. Help Musicians also hopes to extend the provision of these services beyond musicians to all those working within the industry.
James Ainscough, chief executive of Help Musicians, said: “Music is beneficial to everybody’s mental wellbeing, yet those who work in music seem to struggle more than most with their own mental health. The pandemic has amplified this paradox. Music Minds Matter will become a collaborative mental wellbeing resource for the entire music industry, to help those who are struggling and to transform the ability of all those working in music to proactively maintain their wellbeing.
“Working together, spotlighting all that is valuable whoever the provider, the music industry can embed lasting change and become a leader in caring for the mental health of its people. We are very grateful to the whole UK Music Board for their enthusiasm and support, and especially PPL for their decisive financial backing. We hope many will come to value and support this work as the Music Minds Matter service expands.”
We hope many will come to value and support this work as the Music Minds Matter service expands
Peter Leathem, chief executive officer of PPL, said: “The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of many in the music industry. PPL supports initiatives which aim to improve the wellbeing of those that work in music. Last year, with Help Musicians, we jointly backed the launch of BAPAM’s mental health training bursary scheme, and are proud to be partnering yet again to support the expansion of Music Minds Matter. Since launching in 2017, the service has been an important source of help for many musicians, so we welcome its growth and the help it will now offer to all in our industry.”
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “This pandemic has had an awful toll on our industry, and nowhere can the impact be seen more starkly than on the mental health of those working in the industry. “Music Minds Matter is a vital service that provides much-needed advice and support to those who need it most, and this expansion will make a real difference to countless people across the industry. “Protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of those working in the music industry is mission critical if we want to get through this pandemic. UK Music is determined to play our part in this important effort, and so we are proud to be supporting Help Musicians in the excellent work they are doing.”
Lucy Heyman, musicians' health and wellbeing specialist and co-author of Sound Advice, said: “Even before the pandemic hit, musicians experienced significant mental and physical challenges in their careers. This situation has worsened over the last twelve months with many now facing increased financial difficulties and mental health issues, along with uncertainty about the future and return to work. As a result, we vitally need more support services for musicians and those working in the industry around them. The collaborative, industry-wide approach that Help Musicians is offering will enable anyone in the music industry to access the very best support services available in one place, no matter who provides them. It will make a meaningful difference to the music community, providing much-needed centralised support, along with targeted localised solutions, to address the issues caused by the pandemic and beyond.”