Every generation has lost some of their favorite musicians to addiction and mental illness, from Charlie Parker to Juice WRLD. A study from the Music Industry Research Association says that 50% of musicians have suffered from depression, and 12% had suicidal thoughts. Finally, the music industry has decided to do something about these troubling statistics.
Why is Mental Health Declining with Musicians?
Many musicians are hounded by loneliness, as they need to do a lot of touring to have a successful music career. Constant travel can leave musicians plagued by drugs and alcohol, poor sleep habits, strained relationships, and a lack of access to health insurance. Long hours on the road or in the studio do not leave a lot of time for taking care of yourself. From a neurological standpoint, musicians tend to be more right-brained, which is where creativity lies. This side of the brain also controls negative emotions, and musicians often rely heavily upon this.
What is the Music Industry Doing About Mental Illness?
Corporate giants and grassroots organizations have come up with new initiatives towards mental health. There are also festivals and benefits for mental health awareness. Record labels and artists are making efforts to destigmatize mental health. Consider, for instance, Tour Support, where musicians have access to a therapist on the phone or online. The Recording Academy created MusiCares to lend medical and financial help in 1989. People like Demi Lovato and Bruce Springsteen have come out about mental health issues to destigmatize these painful afflictions.
What is Backline Organization?
Backline is an organization dedicated to connecting musicians and crew members with mental health resources. CEO Hilary Gleason of Level, a consulting firm that connects bands with nonprofits, founded this organization. It started with a conference call of more than 40 music industry vets, musicians, tour managers, and crew members. They understand that being a musician can be a lot easier if musicians have the right tools. As well as MusiCares, Backline is in charge of HAAM and the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. Their case managers have conversations with everyone who submits a form online. After this interview, they are paired with appropriate resources like a therapist, life coach, support group, or AA meeting. The music industry is one of many sectors doing something to ensure their clients are well taken care of.
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