Mental health & music in the mix

Mental health has been a rapidly growing problem in recent years, with the term ‘Facebook Depression’ even being thrown around, the idea that addiction to social media feeds has caused us to compare our worst day to other peoples best day, something that can’t be healthy in any sense.

Now musicians and DJs are coming forward via interviews and social media posts to share their experience and issues with mental health with studies showing a career in music puts you three times more likely to suffer from mental health issues than the general public.

Just last week the passing of Avicii sent shock through the industry, with his family confirming this week it was suicide, his intense touring schedule brought sleep deprivation and anxiety, something he turned to alcohol to cope with.

The Association for Electronic Music presented a panel at Brighton Music Conference, with their own Tristan Hunt moderating. Also speaking was Kezia Racher from Help Musicians UK, Mike Hollingbery from creative agency Bozboz, Pioneer DJ and DJSounds’ Dan Tait, and DJ and radio broadcaster Coco Cole.

With limited time and the topic being one that has no easy place to start, the panel jumped straight in after introducing themselves.  Dan Tait gave a lengthy description of his experience working with a number of big artists through the production of his documentary film, Why We DJ – Slaves To The Rhythm.

Dan said “DJs are lonely, they’re lonely, that loneliness drives them to find happiness, they’re surrounded by people who expect them to be the life and soul of the party, that’s a lot of pressure.”

Coco Cole, who previously played a radio show from 3am to 6am explained how waking up at 1am and getting home at 7am gave her serious sleep deprivation. “You write down all this shit I was doing and think, that’s a recipe for a panic attack.”

She also spoke about the pressure of keeping up with social media as an artist, that even on those days when you feel anxious or just want to stay in bed, you have to create content to keep the ball rolling on your profile engagement.

Help Musicians UK now have a help musicians 24/7 helpline, Kezia Racher explained “It really came about following some research that was published last year, asking over 2,000 musicians working in music about their experience, how it was making them feel, how their health was, that initial study showed people who work in music seem much more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s opened to anbody and everybody who works in music.”

You can contact the 24/7 helpline on 0808 802 8008.

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