From Charlie Parker to Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain to Chester Bennington, Amy Winehouse to Ian Curtis, mental health issues in the music industry isn’t breaking news.
Studies suggest that musicians are at a far greater risk of developing mental health issues, due to the volatile and pressurised nature of their work.
In recent times, coronavirus and Brexit have only aggravated the issue - research has shown that 87 per cent of UK musicians state that their mental health has deteriorated since working in the music industry.
It also doesn’t help that the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health is fuelled by how the media have chosen to portray it over the years.
The struggles of musicians and celebrities are often sensationalised, glamourised and normalised in the mainstream news, failing to frame the conversation constructively with regards to mental health.
Despite the evidence, it’s a topic which has been vastly overlooked in the music industry.
Now, the discourse is beginning to change. Societal shifts in the attitude towards it in general is partly to thank for that and the de-stigmatisation within our societies has been powerful in leading the industry to approaching the topic in a beneficial light.
Discussion is being generated within artistic circles and interventions are being put into place before artists reach crisis point.
Finally, music industry professionals are finally getting the help they need.
Major record labels in the UK such as Universal and Warner are now rolling out prevention-focused programmes, offering services such as well-being check ins and even writing mental health clauses into contracts which guarantee support for artists.
Training programmes throughout departments are also being rolled out, teaching staff to recognise when artists are struggling and equipping them with the expertise to help.
The music industry is helping to fight the mental health crisis, although the surface is only being scratched.
The collective issue of mental health requires a collective solution, despite the differing agendas that the major labels and industry professionals may have.
Ultimately, key music industry players must work together to help stamp out mental health issues in the music industry for good.
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