In 2014, HMUK carried out an online Health and Wellbeing survey inviting musicians to tell us about the stresses and strains of the profession. 552 musicians responded from all genres of music and at all stages in their careers.
We asked about a whole range of issues commonly highlighted by working musicians. Key themes and challenges included anti-social working hours, performance anxiety, repetitive strain injury and hearing.
HMUK launched the MAD—Music and Depression campaign in May 2016 at The Great Escape, where the charity announced it would lead the industry by commissioning a study into the wellbeing and working conditions of those working in music.
An industry-wide survey was launched and the study was undertaken by Sally Anne Gross and Dr George Musgrave of the University of Westminster and published by MusicTank.
The results of the pilot study, released under the title Can Music Make You Sick?, gave a snapshot of the working lives of 2,211 people working in music—the largest study of its kind.
HMUK's Chief Executive, Richard Robinson, presented the survey results at the Association of Independent Festivals Congress on 1 November 2016.
The most striking of all of the findings was that musicians appear to be suffering from (self-reported) anxiety and depression in significant numbers, up to three times more likely than the public.
In response to the tragic and untimely death of Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, HMUK's Chief Executive announced #MusicMindsMatter, a commitment to launch an service for those working in music, launching in late 2017, that will aim to provide focused support, advice, education and where possible, improved access and signposting to existing mental health services.
To follow on from the 2016 quantitative study, HMUK wanted to know 'why' and 'what could be done' to better understand and support the music community.
The University of Westminster conducted 26 interviews with musicians who took part in the pilot study. Respondents, from multiple genres and of varying ages, career stages and locations throughout the UK, were asked about their working experiences and how they understood these impacted on their mental health and general wellbeing.
Can Music Make You Sick? The Final Report and Recommendations gives us key themes, findings and recommendations for the industry. Read the press release here.
A key recommendation that came out of the Can Music Make You Sick? research was that musicians want professional mental health services that are affordable and easy to access. They also want to talk to people who understand the unique challenges they face.
In early December, HMUK launched a 24/7 mental health support line and service for the UK music industry – Music Minds Matter.
Having listened to the views of musicians, music industry professionals, stakeholders and existing mental health providers, HMUK is keen to propose meaningful and lasting solutions for the industry.
HMUK is further committed to:
- Building a Music Industry Mental Health Taskforce with key partners, and helping musicians to find the clinical or therapeutic support they need. The Taskforce will provide a forum where members of the music industry, mental health experts and ambassadors can discuss mental illness and make recommendations for a set of pledges for managers and labels that would establish a duty of care within the industry.
- Igniting support and underpining a global approach from the music industry through the #MusicMindsMatter campaign by forming partnerships with organisations that are committed to providing crucial support in this complex area. HMUK recently supported the Music Managers Forum on their Music Managers Guide to Mental Health. The industry needs to come together, and HMUK will continue to collaborate with clinical, qualified experts and the wider mental health community, advocating for change across the industry.