Taking care of our mental health is as essential as taking care of our physical health; however, the global pandemic and closures of venues are causing millions in the music business to feel depressed, alone and anxious.
One organisation we’ve discovered who can help musicians, music producers, managers, etc. get back on track is MentalVoice. MentalVoice is a Danish, non-profit initiative and provides support to maintain the mental health of musicians.
Even before COVID-19, just surviving as an independent artist was difficult. Laughable streaming revenues, financial instability, and a consistent requirement to increase the fan base is only a small part of the challenges – after many hours of work in the studio. And now, overnight, musicians who relied on tours and gigs found their primary or crucial source of income come to an abrupt end.
Musicians are suffering more than average
“it’s the perfect collision” for a breakdown.
Awareness of the declining health of musicians has been coming into acute focus over the past few years. In a 2018 study from the Music Industry Research Association, as reported in Rolling Stone magazine, 50% of musicians reported battling symptoms of depression, compared with less than 25% of the general adult population. The article continues;
“Creatives in the industry today suffer more because their routines are so destabilised,” says Dr Chayim Newman, a Toronto-based clinical psychologist whose private practice focuses on performers and touring artists. “The intense, long hours on the road or in the studio create a challenge in maintaining health routines and healthy relationship routines.” Or, as Osborne puts it, “it’s the perfect collision” for a breakdown.
Swedish/Danish magazine Gaffa.dk in October 2019 also highlighted their concerns in an article titled ‘Musicians have three times the tendency to develop anxiety, depression and stress.‘ (translated from Danish)
Mental health problems can arise in different ways, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Drink abuse, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, self-esteem and many signs go unseen by family and friends.
In the past artists such as Prodigy singer Keith Flint, soul singer Phylis Hyman, soul legend Donny Hathaway, Swedish DJ Avicii, and indie icon Kurt Cobain have all died by suicide. The list is also long of high profile artists in the industry who have shown mental suffering in some manner.
However, often overlooked are those artists, and those involved in music, at the grassroots level.
In December 2019, the soulful world of Scandinavia lost the outstanding R&B artist Beldina. Her passing a painful reminder of the real-life stresses behind the music.
Any upcoming artist/musician who has sacrificed time, money and on occasion education in pursuit of their musical career can understandably find the struggle, on top of a global pandemic, overwhelming. And knowing who to turn to can be difficult.
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, MentalVoice is a non-profit-organisation whose aim is to create a healthier and safer environment in the music industry regarding mental health. Their key focus is working with both acute and preventive interventions/measures.
Established in 2019, MentalVoice believes in preventive measures, since those methods can create a solid and strong foundation for an individual or group that can help them handle the possible challenges of the future. And they only use a ‘quick-fix’ method as a last resort.
Their belief is any individual or group has the potential and willingness to maintain good mental health. MentalVoice contributes by sharing knowledge, tools and exercises and inspiring people in the industry to work with mental health.
It may be a while before life returns to a new normal. MentalVoice can be the support artists need today and into this ever-changing future.
Creatives don’t need to suffer for their art.