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Musicians 3 times more likely to experience depression compared to public

Help Musicians UK’s landmark Can Music Make You Sick? study reveals those working in the music industry are more susceptible to mental health issues

A new study has revealed that musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depression compared to the general public.

The study was undertaken by researchers Sally Gross and Dr George Musgrave of the University Of Westminster and published by MusicTank in conjunction with charity Help Musicians UK and their Can Music Make You Sick? project.

It’s the world’s largest academic study into music and mental health, with more than 2200 musicians surveyed.

The study cited money worries, poor working conditions, relationship challenges and sexual abuse, bullying and discrimination as major issues.

As a result of the findings, Help Musicians UK have made three pledges: To establish a music industry Mental Health Taskforce, deliver a nationwide 24/7 mental health service titled Music Minds Matter and advocate change across the music industry.

Help Musicians UK’s director of external affairs, Christine Brown says: “HMUK is uniquely placed to commission and share the results of this important, game-changing study.

"The charity granted nearly £2 million 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."

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Brown continues: "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.”

Researchers Gross and Musgrave add: “This research is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the complex relationship between the working conditions of musicians and mental health conditions.

“The honesty and poignancy of our interviewees has made possible this important work, and informed the service provision being implemented by Help Musicians UK, and for that we are truly thankful.

“We 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.”

Music Minds Matter will combine clinical and therapeutic help, grant funding and bespoke legal, welfare, debt and benefits advice. It’s scheduled to launch in December.

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