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Pandemic causes mental health crisis for musicians

guitarist looking worried
guitarist looking worried Image credit: grammy.com

A charity for people working in the music industry has warned lockdown and Brexit has impacted mental health of musicians on an ‘unprecedented scale’.

Out of 700 performers across the country who participated in the Help Musicians UK study 87 per cent said they have notice a decline in their wellbeing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 59 per cent shared their concerns about the UK leaving the EU.

Four in five suffering from mental health (81%) have not had their condition diagnosed stopping them to seek professional support.

Reasons for their mental illness ranges from relationship problems (36%) to losing their homes (41%).

Money is a main concern with 96% worried about their finances and 76% believing they won’t be able to afford the cost of living over the next six months.

Over half (51%) said they are not earning any money from their music, 56% are relying on Universal Credit and 32% are surviving from payments off family and friends.

Almost a quarter (24%) are thinking about packing in their music career and finding a new profession.

Brexit has also raised concerns for many performers as new rules cannot guarantee free travel, the regulations has received criticism from high-profile musicians such as Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor.

Help Musicians chief executive James Ainscough said: “We can’t sugar-coat these findings. We are facing a mental health crisis amongst musicians on an unprecedented scale. Whilst there may be light at the end of the tunnel with a road map out of lockdown revealed, there is still substantial uncertainty around how quickly the music industry can recover, plus the catastrophic impact of the Brexit deal on musicians’ ability to tour. After a year of hardship, the ongoing uncertainty for musicians is taking a huge toll on mental health.

“We have been offering ongoing financial support to thousands of musicians throughout the pandemic, but offering money is just one part of what musicians need – we have also had to completely revamp the mental health support we offer to address this rapidly unfolding crisis.

“Musicians who cannot work don’t just suffer financially, they grieve for the creativity and connections that their music usually brings. This is why we have bolstered our mental health support for musicians across the UK.”

Help Musicians UK offers a 24-hour helpline and a debt service.