On this publish-lockdown (we hope) world, the place COVID is beneath some semblance of management however the specter of a vax-dodging mutation is at all times lingering, the topic of psychological well being has by no means been extra related. It’s at all times been related, however the world has simply been by way of a pandemic the likes of which we’ve by no means skilled earlier than. It was draining, terrifying, and completely exhausting for everybody. For folks already fighting their psychological well being, it was devastating.
Within the music world, it’s all too depressingly acquainted after we hear a few beloved artist that has been taken from us after struggling with psychological well being struggles — whether or not it’s an overdose due to self-remedy, or a suicide. It’s complicated and traumatizing, and we want that the individual in query may have requested for assist. As a result of assistance is on the market.
Theresa Wolters is the vp of Well being & Human Companies at MusiCares, a registered 501c3 group launched by the Recording Academy in 1989.
“MusiCares was created as a safety net for the humans behind music because music gives so much to the world,” says Wolters. “Since 1989, MusiCares has provided support to 134,000 music professionals through $105 million in financial assistance for health, human, mental health, and addiction recovery needs. In the early years, MusiCares provided support to hundreds of music professionals annually, and has now grown to reach 20,000 music professionals annually through financial assistance and other programs.”
It’s a useful useful resource for people who want it, and people who find out about it. Consciousness is vital, and MusiCares is doing all it could.
“In 2005, MusiCares was one of the first organizations on the ground in New Orleans to support relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, eventually providing $4 million in support to music professionals in the affected Gulf Coast communities,” says Wolters. “In March 2020, MusiCares urgently recognized and responded to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on music professionals and has since provided $37.5 million in financial assistance to 47,000 music professionals. As MusiCares continues to deepen our impact with music professionals, we remain committed to our core values: service, inclusivity, empowerment, and integrity.”
There are guidelines: Music professionals want to have a minimal of 5 years employment within the music business or six commercially launched recordings or movies to qualify for assist with MusiCares. “Music professionals” can embrace singers and songwriters, engineers, tour safety, photographers, and extra.
There’s advantage to the notion that folks working within the arts are significantly prone to psychological well being points, together with melancholy.
“MusiCares conducts an in-depth annual wellness survey,” says Wolters. “Responses from our most recent survey, conducted in late 2021 and released in early 2022, demonstrate that 56% of music professionals responding indicated moderately high to very high levels of anxiety. During this same period, the CDC reports 30% of the U.S. adult population had symptoms of anxiety. Our data indicates that music professionals are reporting mental health issues at higher levels than the general population. There may be several reasons for this, including the physical and health demands of this work, the financial variability and economic insecurity for many individuals in the music industry, as well as a disconnect between the perception and realities of working in the music industry.”
“Mental health challenges don’t discriminate based on levels of fame or perceived success.”
“Oftentimes, musicians can be more right-brain dominant,” stated psychotherapist Michele Blair when talking to this author in 2021. “So more creative on the emotional side of things. Of course, that can create much more sensitivity to life and surroundings, and be more in tune with all of those things. It can maybe set one up to be a bit more vulnerable to that. Also, part of the wonder and miracle of being human beings is that, in general, we’re real survivors. Our systems and our bodies try to find ways to self-regulate and make it through tough times. If people have been through some trauma, it’s very common to turn to music to survive those times.”
That disconnect is big. The public at massive hears about Chris Cornell succumbing to his struggles and wonders how any person so beloved, profitable and fashionable may have something to be depressed about. After all, that’s not how melancholy works.
“Mental health challenges don’t discriminate based on levels of fame or perceived success,” says Wolters. “The music community has devastatingly and tragically lost beloved artists. These losses remind us how important it is to be informed of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health issues in ourselves and others.”
“It’s a lack of empathy,” stated scientific psychiatrist Michael Mollura when talking to this author in 2021. “It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be in a position of fame of that nature. One of the biggest problems I think that comes up in that situation is misidentification. We identify Kurt Cobain or Chris Cornell as a certain idea, which they can’t nor do they want to live up to. It becomes a constant burden on the ego to be seen a certain way. Imagine living like that. It’s extremely overwhelming, and creates all anxiety, then potentially depression and other mental disorders such as schizophrenia.”
COVID-19, Wolters says, resulted in an increase in psychological well being points but in addition elevated assets and analysis.
“In comparing data from the MusiCares wellness surveys in 2020 and 2021, we saw an increase (from 35% to 50%) in the percent of respondents who sought counseling for anxiety, depression or stress,” she says. “Additionally, in recent years, several high-visibility artists have been vocal about their respective mental health challenges. As artists we admire discuss their own mental health challenges, seeking healthcare is increasingly normalized and de-stigmatized. While this is encouraging progress, we still see persistent stigma, as well as a lack of access to mental health resources, particularly in historically marginalized communities. For this reason, MusiCares continues to prioritize access to mental health and addiction recovery for music professionals, as well as weekly support groups and informational sessions on a range of mental health topics.”
Thank god they’re round.
Reach Out to MusiCares: In case you or any person you already know wants assist, e-mail the MusiCares reduction field at [email protected] or by way of cellphone at 800-687-4227.
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