UK music industry tackles impact of pandemic on musicians’ mental health

Recent research carried out by UK charity Help Musicians has shown that the combined effect of lockdown and uncertainty about the future is taking an unprecedented toll on the mental health of musicians

According to Help Musicians‘ latest survey, 87% of respondents reported a deterioration in their mental health since the start of the pandemic and the charity has seen a 65% rise in requests for help to its Music Minds Matter service already in 2021.

As a result, the range of support options available within Music Minds Matter service, launched in July 2017, will be widened, 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, and with referrals to deeper support available via Help Musicians’ longstanding clinical partner BAPAM, two new strands of support will be added to Music Minds Matter, 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, and targeted signposting to help everyone find the most relevant advice and support, from across the music sector and beyond.

Industry bodies have welcomed this approach, with PPL already offering a 3-year funding package worth £300,000.

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.’

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.’

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.’