Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Help Musicians UK reveals mental health survey results

12:21, 1st November 2016

Help Musicians UK (HMUK) has revealed the findings of a survey conducted as part of its MAD (Music and Depression) campaign.

Conducted by the University of Westminster and MusicTank, the survey explored the mental health issues faced by musicians and the wider music industry and asked the question: ‘Can music make you sick?’

Of the 2,211 musicians who took the survey, 71% believed they have experienced anxiety and panic attacks and 65% reported they had suffered from depression. 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.

The results also revealed that 54.8% of respondents 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.

The survey is the largest of its kind in the UK to date. 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.

‘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,’ said Richard Robinson, HMUK chief executive. ‘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.’

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 mental health in the music industry.

Click here to read the full report.

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