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2 in 3 musicians suffer from anxiety and depression



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A research study published by Help Musicians UK, a charity for UK musicians, is revealing new information about the dark side of the music industry.

As part of a report titled “Can Music Make You Sick?”, researchers at the University of Westminster surveyed 2,211 people using the UK information hub MusicTank.

“The focus of the research was to hear directly from musicians and others working within the wider music industry, about their working conditions and how they felt these affected their mental wellbeing,” the report reads.

In the study, four case study interviews were conducted, in which musicians were not the only participants. Groups of participants included industry roles like music management (9%), label or music publishing (7%), audio production (4%), and live crew (2%).

71% of participants reported panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety, and another 65% claiming to have suffered from depressive symptoms.

From 2010 to 2013, researchers gathered data from the Office for National Statistics on ‘Measuring National Well-being’, which revealed the participants over the age of 16 in the UK, nearly 1 in 5 of the population suffer from anxiety and/or depression.



Furthermore, musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms than the general public, as Pitchfork noted.

So, why are musicians facing these severe psychological struggles, and how can it be fixed?

According to researchers, working in the music industry can make you sick for several reasons. The financial grapple of making a living, prolonged working hours, exhaustion, inability to plan the future, lack of recognition, and musculoskeletal disorders are just a couple of contributing factors.

Throughout the years, making a living off of playing music has evolved. No longer are consumers paying for compact disk albums, instead, online streaming services such as Spotify and VEVO dominate the market.

As a result, musicians are turning to nationwide tours, grudgingly spending weeks at a time working overtime on little to no sleep. Unsurprisingly, some musicians don’t make any profit unless they’re on the tour bus.

With a successful study, however, researchers are prepping to explore more ways to bring this issue abroad.

Help Musicians UK, a London-based organization, announced it’s ready to launch a nationwide mental health service for those in the music industry. Although no exact date was confirmed, staff members hope to get things rolling by 2017.

Jose Florez is the founder of Mental Daily, a psychology blog and news aggregator. His previous work has appeared in Psychology Today, HuffPost, Glamour, Lifehack, and others.