Classical Music has today [10 October 2019] released the results of its industry-wide mental health survey, which included responses from musicians, composers, journalists, artist managers, administrators, teachers and more.

The survey revealed that:

  • The environment within the music industry is one which leads to an alarming level of stress and mental health difficulties, with 63% of respondents having accessed professional services (not necessarily through work) on grounds of stress or mental health difficulties. 32.3% of respondents have even used alcohol or other substances to help them to cope at work.
  • There is a widespread feeling (82%) that there are gaps in the provision of mental health services for musicians. 64.5% of respondents said that they did not have adequate information to respond to issues relating to mental health in the workplace.
  • While professional support for mental health issues exists/is offered in some workplaces, more needs to be done to make this support available. Only 18% of respondents said that they were aware of their place of work offering access to such support, and of the respondents in managerial positions, only 23% have had training to respond to mental health disclosures from colleagues.

Classical Music’s Harmony in Mind campaign was launched in April to advocate for better mental health provision across the industry.  ‘The music industry presents a challenging environment for its employees, with many struggling with irregular and low pay, long and antisocial hours and extended periods of time away from home’, Classical Music editor Lucy Thraves explains. ‘As is clear from this survey, these conditions are reflected in high levels of mental health difficulties across the sector. We hope that by drawing attention to these issues we can help increase mental health provision and encourage industry-wide change.’

Our research follows a 2016 study by Help Musicians UK which found that 71% of musicians experienced anxiety and panic attacks, and 65% reported they had suffered from depression – three times higher than the general population.

These results particularly point towards the need for reformation of mental health resources in the workplace in order to better support musicians and staff. One of the campaign’s main aims is to inspire more classical music organisations to sign up to the Time to Change Employer’s Pledge. Led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, ‘Time to Change’ is working with employers in all sectors to change how they think and act about mental health in the workplace, enabling them to ensure that employees feel supported and working to end mental health discrimination.

Classical Music has been joined by several of the leading mental health and industry charities working in the classical music business, including British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union, Music Support, The Royal Society of Musicians and Time to Change.

To mark the announcement of the results, Classical Music is hosting a thought-provoking panel discussion this evening [10 Oct] featuring pianist Clare Hammond and Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, Emma Mamo, moderated by Christopher Gunness, former UN spokesperson and Classical Music podcast host.

#HarmonyinMind @ClassicalMusic_