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‘Music industry workers are three times more likely to experience depression,’ study finds

A study released today by charity Help Musicians UK has revealed that music industry workers are three times more likely to experience depression.

The ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’ report asked the music community how their working conditions have impacted on their mental health, and comprises interviews with 26 respondents from a broad cross section of the industry.

HMUK has also pledged to establish a Music Industry Mental Health Taskforce to drive change in the industry, and a 24/7 mental health service, Music Minds Matter, offering therapeutic help, funding and legal advice for anyone working in the music industry. The support service is due to launch this December.

Researchers Sally Gross and Dr. George Musgrave said: “This research is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the complex relationship between the working conditions of musicians and mental health conditions. We also welcome the new service Music Minds Matter and hope that this research can spark a wider debate both in the music industry about the welfare of those at its heart, and more generally about the challenging nature of precarious work.”

The research found that problems facing those in the music industry include money worries (from working multiple jobs to not being able to afford professional mental health support), poor working conditions (constant critical feedback can be difficult for musicians with mental health problems) and relationship challenges (which can often come under pressure and strain due to the nature of the job).

As a result of the findings, HMUK has recommended that mental health should be discussed more in the wider industry and embedded in the curriculum of music education courses.

Christine Brown, director of external affairs at HMUK, said: “HMUK is uniquely placed to commission and share the results of this important, game-changing study. The charity granted nearly two million pounds last year to those that need it most in the industry, so it is a natural step to examine the key issues and make a call to action to help implement wider, lasting change in the industry, namely HMUK’s three key pledges.

“The British music industry is in rude health and has a world class reputation – but to continue the long-term wellbeing of the industry and its workers, we aim to create a constructive forum for discussion, partnership and collaboration.

“Through the new Music Minds Matter service, we are closer to providing the crucial support, advice and education the music community desperately needs. Together we can continue to chip away at the stigma, so that in the long term those working in the community never have to suffer in silence.”

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