The music industry has always been a volatile environment triggering vulnerabilities that can lead to mental health challenges and emotional breakdowns.
Here at the PRS Members’ Fund, we understand that the pathway of a music creator can be very erratic, especially at psychological and financial levels. That’s why we are focusing on Mental Health/Physical Support and Debt Management to give PRS members assistance through our services and in conjunction with our partner organisations.
The recent events focusing on artists’ suicide and the stats collected from surveys around mental health are truly alarming. In 2016 HMUK (Help Musicians UK) commissioned a survey undertaken by researchers Sally Gross and Dr George Musgrave of the University of Westminster.
On October 2017 HMUK released the survey’s final report. It found that 80% of musicians and songwriters/composers experience stress, anxiety and depression and that the music community may be up to three times more likely to experience depression compared to the general public. (Can Music Make You Sick? , Academic study and survey, Help Musicians UK, 2017)
Last year, we created a unique partnership with Help Musicians UK to provide dedicated mental health support to members through Music Minds Matter – a free and confidential 24/7 mental health support line and service for the music industry. PRS for Music members can now access counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy as well as emotional support or just a listening ear.
Dr Pete Glenister, PRS Members’ Fund trustee said “Music Minds Matter will help point PRS members towards appropriate treatment and support and if necessary, fund that treatment and support. We hope this collaboration will give members the tools they need to help themselves going forward.”
If you are struggling to cope, contact Music Minds Matter on 0808 802 8008 or email MMM@helpmusicians.org.uk let them know you are a PRS member.
“Mental health can be just as important as physical health – and major depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses.”
The music industry is a very competitive and uncertain place where income and success may rise and fall quite easily. Financial insecurity, poor working conditions, discrimination, prejudice and physical health, can also have negative impacts on mental health.
Dan Marshall, songwriter, said:
“I was in a really sticky situation, spiralling financial situation due to bad physical health, which was affecting my mental health. I didn’t know what else to do.
So, I just typed in ‘help for musicians’ into Google and it just came up the PRS Members’ Fund; I read the application and I started to fill out the form.
I found it hard to express in words how great I felt when I got that email back saying, ‘your application has been accepted, we are glad to tell you we can help you’. I’m so grateful for the help I received and I think that it’s up to anyone out there, put your pride out of the way, be vulnerable, it’s ok to ask for assistance, there is no harm in asking at all.”
This year, the topic of the Mental Health Awareness Week is Body Image – how we feel and think about our bodies.
In a world where outer appearance can mean everything, the prejudice can trigger feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem, it’s therefore essential to raise awareness about mental health and the support available within the music industry.
The BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) is a disabling preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in appearance, that causes distress and interferes with the ability to function socially and create music.
Thankfully, it’s now becoming more common for artists to talk about mental health and their experiences, and this encourages others to step forward and seek support.
Ashley Beedle, songwriter, composer and Dj, shared with us his experience with mental health:
“I first approached the PRS Members’ Fund in 2017. I am what is classified as Bipolar 1, which is the worst. I found myself in a very poor financial situation as well.
The fund gave me back my confidence, which is very important because I was so low and I felt that if you like my musicality, what I did, it was dead!
Things are tangible different now because I have regained my confidence, I have got back into making music in a very productive way and enjoy myself again, which is really where it’s at!”
The Fund is dedicating to supporting PRS members experiencing difficult times. We do this through the provision of grants, information and signposting, as well as through our work with partner organisations such as Help Musicians UK via our joint Music Minds Matter project, or Shelter for housing advice, StepChange for debt and budgetary management, and British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) for specialist health support.
Sometimes all people need is a kind, attentive and listening ear.
THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP.
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