A new mental health campaign is being rolled out in the UK next week, in a move that’s good news for emerging artists.
While awareness about the mental health of musicians has grown in the past year, the mainstream media tends to focus (perhaps understandably) on big names stars such as Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Dolores O’Riordan.
While this isn’t a bad thing in itself, it’s important to make clear that it’s not just major artists who struggle with issues such as depression, anxiety and addiction. The demands of performing and making a living in a competitive industry can weigh heavily on grassroots artists too. This is why Help Musician’s UK (HMUK) has teamed up with the organisers of Independent Venue Week (IVW) to launch a new campaign. It has three elements.
1 Backstage presence
HMUK will have a strong presence at the 230 gigs taking place as part of IVW, which runs from 28 January to 3 February. The charity will make bespoke healthy venue packs available at each IVW venue. The packs are for artists and venue staff and will contain ACS quality hearing protection, and information and signposting on the support available for artists who might be struggling. If you’re an artist performing at IVW take advantage of them!
2 Mental health first aid training
The charity will pilot an accredited Mental Health First Aid Training session, via The Mind Map. The two-day course will educate venue owners, staff and promoters about how to identify artists who may be struggling and ways to reach out and help.
HMUK will lead a national research project into the health and welfare needs of artists within the grassroots music venue sector. An in-depth, open roundtable discussion will precede a nationwide survey designed to understand the complex needs of the industry. Look out for the results of the research later this year.
Joe Hastings, HMUK’s Head of Health and Welfare, says: “It’s fundamental to HMUK that grassroots venues and the musicians we support thrive. We aim to not only support artists and upskill the sector during and beyond IVW, but also cultivate an ongoing nationwide conversation around the health and welfare needs of artists on tour through our partnerships with IVW, as well as our other partners such as BAPAM. We look forward to gaining a deeper understanding through our research and truly making a difference to the people who need it most.”
Read more about the issue of mental health in the music industry HERE