Music & Mental Health
13th February 2020
Something slightly different from me today. Usually my articles are business-related, often with a cool musical slant like David Bowie issuing royalties bonds or a rundown of music tech startups. Which makes a lot of sense, right? My job is to find the very best finance and operations professionals for music industry roles, so the two things fit together nicely. Here at Harmonic however we’re about a lot more than just recruitment.
Our company values are knowledge, respect and community – something we take very seriously. That’s why we were a sponsor and partner of Getahead festival back in June; a two-day event designed for professionals to connect and discuss mental and physical health, along with personal and professional development.
I want to talk today about charities and organisations set up to both protect the mental and physical health of musicians in the UK and to use music to help others with mental health issues. Music can be an unforgiving business and the touring and gigging lifestyle that can accompany it may also be detrimental in a number of ways (you mean living in a van subsisting on only beer and Ginsters is bad for you? Who knew?). At the same time, the therapeutic power of music and the large and loving community around it can help on the path to recovery.
Does exactly what it says on the tin! Help Musicians UK are an independent charity for musicians across all genres, whether you’re new to the profession or soon to be hanging up the drumsticks for walking sticks.
One of the great things they do, is operate a helpline that you can call and get instant advice or assistance. This extends further than mental health help, too. Help Musicians UK can help with hearing issues, grants, tax – you name it. They provide an incredible service to help musicians from all walks of life and are growing in strength every year.
Just some of the ways Help Musicians UK have been improving their service
These guys are the largest and best-know service out there and a great place to start if you’re having any issues or have questions. Kudos to the team there for running such an excellent program to ensure our musicians are happy, healthy and ready to play.
Website - https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk
Phone - 0207 239 9101 (outside of office hours, leave a message!)
While not specifically for musicians, Getahead is a welcoming environment for all professions. Their mission is to ‘help a billion people get ahead without burning out’, and professional musicians are certainly at risk of burnout!
This year’s main event may have been and gone, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait for 2020. Getahead have resources for you to access and benefit from year-round; for example their blogs are a treasure trove of great info – plus you can catch up on all the seminars and talks you may have missed on their YouTube channel. Make sure you check them out.
MMM is an offshoot of Help Musicians UK that is specifically focused on mental health provision for musicians. Their lines are open 24/7, 365 with a trained adviser waiting for you at the other end of the line. It’s an important service. In fact, MMM’s own research (conducted with the University of Westminster) indicated that over 71% of artists surveyed had suffered from panic attacks and 69% from bouts of depression.
These illnesses are no joke and as we know from the news, even the richest and best-loved musicians struggle with mental health issues, addiction and suicidal thoughts – having someone on the other end of the line can make a huge difference in these situations.
Website - musicmindsmatter.org.uk
Phone – 0808 802 8002
Email – MMM@helpmusicians.org.uk (expect a response within 48 hours)
This is a slightly different offering, but a powerful one. Key Changes provide music engagement and recovery services in hospitals and the community, primarily for young people and some adults affected by mental health conditions. This includes everything from depression and anxiety to PTSD, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.
Their award-winning programme promotes wellbeing and recovery through developing creative, technical and vocational skills, drawing on clinical therapeutic techniques and professional music industry practice. The activities can include song writing, composition, production, performance… every part of the process is on the table, allowing people to find the areas they enjoy and connect with the industry,
They work on a referral basis, but if you’d like to contact them to donate time, money or expertise to this great cause:
Website - keychanges.org.uk
Phone - 020 7549 8172
Music is a wonderful thing and these services are doing their best to harness the positive force of music. Whether that’s improving the lives of musicians through support, or supporting those with mental health issues through music. That’s something we support fully at Harmonic and will continue to do so.