For many, gaining, success and notoriety in the music industry is the ultimate dream. The glamour, fame and fortune can look very appealing to an onlooker but this life of excess and extremes can come at the ultimate price. The price for many is the deterioration of their mental health. Often perpetuated by substance abuse, leading onto addiction and in some cases, death.
In 2016 Help Musicians UK (HMUK) conducted the largest known study of musicians working conditions called ‘Can Music Make You Sick? According to the study, a staggering 71.1% of musicians have experienced panic attacks or high levels of anxiety and 68.5% have experienced symptoms of depression. In short, musicians could be up to three times more likely to suffer from depression compared to the general public.
Over the years it has been reported that the pressures of the music industry could have been a contributory factor in many high profile tragic deaths within the music industry including: – Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchinson, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Prince, George Michael, and Chester Bennington. Whether it resulted in suicide, an overdose of pharmaceuticals or alcohol and drug abuse, the catalysts remain the same.
- Touring generates a huge amount of revenue for the artist but also for the managers, agents, label, promoters and everyone else along the way who are involved with the artist. The management are driven to promote and make the most whilst the artist is a success but unfortunately, it’s not always the best choice to keep the artist on the road. The mental and physical exhaustion of touring can lead to erratic sleep patterns. This can have a profound effect on physical health and make it impossible to maintain relationships, regulate emotions, appetite and digestion, leading to anxiety and depression. Using ‘uppers’ and ‘downers’ as a coping strategy to override the body’s natural warning signs.
- Loneliness is a common problem; success can be isolating, constantly being away from family and friends. Travelling alone or with an entourage that may claim to have their best interests at heart but at the same time protecting their own assets.
- Performing can induce incredible highs as well as deeply depressing lows. Many experience huge amounts of anxiety prior to performing and find it hard to wind down afterwards. Whilst connecting with the audience, a performer experiences extreme adoration and euphoria which can be very addictive, creating an inflated sense of ‘self’. There may be a very different reality waiting once the performance is over.
- Introverts often make successful musicians, spending long periods of time in isolation whilst writing and making music during the creative process. On stage they create a whole new persona of a larger than life character when really, they are shy underneath. Having to keep up the pretense can create inner turmoil and affect mental health. Many can turn to alcohol and drugs to keep up the act.
- Expectation to continue the success and keep producing hit after hit can take its toll. The music industry is notoriously unpredictable; success can escalate very quickly but also diminish with the same rapidity. To succeed in the industry, self-belief is an important factor as well as belief in their work. Lack of success can crush this belief with damaging repercussions.
- Social media has created a world in which everyone can be a critic, fans can be fickle and musicians can easily torture themselves with negative reviews or online comments from fans, as well as comparisons to other artists.
There is still a lot of stigma around mental health in society but it can be even harder for people in the public eye to admit their insecurities, wanting to appear at the top of their game to protect their reputation. In light of another high profile tragic death last month more people in the electronic music scene are speaking out about the pressures that DJ’s face. Raising more awareness and support within the industry as a whole is a step in the right direction for mental health.
At Ibiza Calm, we have a lot of experience of clients from the music industry and know only too well the struggles and conflict that comes with that kind of pressure.
Our Clinical Manager has over 15 years of experience touring with many bands and artists around the world and is highly skilled with risk assessment and supporting artists on tour and at clubs. If an artist is on tour they can still attend the treatment centre. Part of our service is to offer assistance on tour and at gigs, so artists do not have to deal completely on their own with the pressures and temptations once they are back in that environment. We will provide the necessary support.
Please contact Ibiza Calm today with complete discretion, our consultants are ready to help you. Change is absolutely possible.