Biggest Ever Study of Its Kind Shows 71 Percent of Musicians Experience Anxiety and Panic Attacks

As part of their Music and Depression campaign, Help Musicians UK have published a striking insight into mental wellbeing in the industry.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
November 1, 2016, 2:34pm

​​​It's important to raise awareness around mental health. ​That's part of the reason why we've looked at the issue through the len​s of the music industry​​, publishing ​​The Noise​y Guide​ to Music and Mental Health​​ – an ongoing series where we've explored the link between anxiety and ambient music​, how ADHD can be a superpower​, what it feels like to be in a band when you have bipolar disorder​, the link between childhood fame and depression​, and a whole truckload of other engaging and thought-provoking routes into peeling back the layers that have surrounded mental health for far too long. ​

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​​​​Ultimately, the idea is to open up the conversation regarding mental health, removing the stigma and normalising the idea that sometimes we all feel shitty, and that's okay, because a shared experience can often be comforting or, at the least, can help to eradicate those feelings of alienation. One of the first pieces we published stated that The Music Industry Needs to Wake Up and Support Artists With Mental Health Problems​. We had some advice from Help Musicians UK on that one, who are the leading independent charity for musicians in the UK.

​In the year or so since that piece, Help Musicians has been working on the largest ever survey global survey of musicians mental health (gathering 2,200 respondents) – and the results are staggering. In a report published today, the charity note that 71% of respondents believe they have experienced anxiety and panic attacks, and 67% report they have suffered from depression. As a result of their findings, the charity suggest that musicians may be up to three times more likely to suffer from the illness compared to the general public. On top of this, 54.8% feel there is a gap in the provision of services for musicians, and 46.6% wanted to see a dedicated counselling service for musicians​.

​ "Sadly the results of this survey don't come as a surprise and paint a concerning picture of conditions for those working in the music industry" says Richard Robinson, Chief Executive of Help Musicians UK.

​Of course, the most prominent question is: what happens now? The discussion regarding mental health is continuing to expand – both with surveys like this one and the prominence of positive, forward-thinking editorial pieces published everywhere from The Fader to the Guardian. But there also needs to be positive, progressive action to move the dialogue beyond the statistics and conversations too. That's where Help Musicians role as a charity will continue to progress.

​Robinson says: "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."

​The study, is part of the ground-breaking MAD (Music and Depression) campaign launched by the charity in May this year. Phase two of the survey results will be revealed in early 2017 along with the announcement of a dedicated task force set up to tackle the delicate issue of mental health in the music industry. Visit the Help Musicians website here​.