Words by Harrison Kefford
Is hitting the big time in music really as rewarding and hyped up as it’s made out to be? Well according to a new UK study confirming that musicians are indeed 3x more susceptible to suffering from mental illness; perhaps not.
A lot of this industry is filled with brave faces, but just like you and I, musicians are human and they too feel gloom sometimes. Take things like jet setting all over from gig to gig, playing in front of huge crowds until the early morning and spending hours on end in the studio perfecting your craft.
On face value, it all sounds likes a fun or a dream, right? Well think again. This dream comes grinding to a halt through conditions such as sleep deprivation, and this, in turn, leads to your body not being able to fully recover (a.k.a feeling like absolute shit).
Sticking some truth behind the case that choosing the career path of a musician is not all smiles and rainbows is a study spearheaded by The University of Westminster’s Sally Anne Gross and Dr. George Musgrave.
The study is called ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’, and it focuses on the issue of mental health in the music industry, which found that a majority of musicians suffer from panic attacks and anxiety.
Surveys of the study were taken from over 2,200 participants and between the ages of 18-35 with it being 55.2 per cent male and 43.9 per cent female. The result from the survey showed that it was three times higher than those of the general public, with the study showing 71% of those who responded saying they have experienced anxiety, and a further 65% said they have suffered from the mental illness depression. Participants of the study also recognised factors that had caused their illness, of which included things such as anti-social working hours, exhaustion, and the inability to plan their time.
UK charity organisation Help Musicians UK published the study, with the company’s Chief Executive, Richard Robinson, having this to say on the studies forward-thinking initiative
“Sadly the results of this survey don’t come as a surprise and paint a concerning picture of the conditions for those working in the music industry. This survey is a vital first step in helping us to establish the scale of the problem and it highlights the importance of the next phases of the survey, which will provide us with recommendations for launching the first music industry specific mental health service.”
As the result suggest, long have people involved in the industry known of this issue and it’s no longer something we should hide from, tuck away and ignore. It feels like just yesterday we were speaking about arguably one of the biggest names in EDM, Avicii, retiring at the age of 26 due to ongoing health issues. The struggles are real, and having names like Avicii a.k.a Tim Bergling come out and share their stories play an important role in portraying the realness behind such a career path.
Phase two of the study ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ is currently in progress and will be published sometime during 2017. Facing the issue head-on, the initiative is now focused on finding a way to help musicians who are currently struggling.