If you’re heading to The Great Escape this weekend then there’s a workshop you really should check out – it could just save your life. Help Musicians UK (HMUK), a leading independent charity, is running a session on how to stay healthy on the road.
As well as focusing on keeping your voice and hearing in top form, the workshop will cover mental health and coping strategies for performers while on tour.
It’s a sad truth that despite recent efforts, mental health is still a huge problem in the music business, an industry where performance anxiety, financial insecurity and anti-social working hours can take their toll. Touring can be particularly demanding, as performers cope with the rigors of life on the road – such as poor sleep, poor diet and constant travelling – while away from their usual support networks.
Stormzy, Professor Green, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga and Ellie Goulding are just some of the artists who have discussed their struggles. Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington also spoke out. “The place between my ears, that’s a bad neighbourhood, I should not be in there alone,” he admitted last year. Months later he took his own life.
Mental illness in the music industry cuts across age, gender and genre. And it looks like it’s getting worse. A HMUK survey of 2,000 musicians in 2014 found 495 had experienced frequent signs of anxiety and panic attacks. Three years later, in a similar survey, the figure had risen to 1,569.
The self-care workshop at The Great Escape will take place Saturday, 19 May, 1.30 to 3.30pm at the Brighton Dome Mezzanine. It’s free but RSVP is required. You can do so HERE.
If you won’t be at the festival, there are many other ways you can reach out for support. HMUK runs a dedicated mental health service and support line. You can call 0808 802 8008 anytime for advice, signposting, clinical pathways and professional therapeutic services. You can also email MMM@helpmusicians.org.uk. The email address is checked regularly, with a response provided within 48 hours.