“No one wants to come clean, let alone an artist,” said Benga last year, speaking about how fame and touring affected his mental health.
Mental illness is one of those things that we know is there, but we don’t talk about it much. Like most illnesses, mental health has, or will, affect all of us. In the UK, one in four people will experience a mental health problem at any given year, with mixed anxiety and depression being the most common.
There’s more prominence of mental health issues in the mainstream media, such as TV shows and music lyrics. Our society is now better at talking about mental illness, despite the stigma attached to it only a few years ago.
In terms of support networks for those suffering and raising awareness, our government policies are awful. Occasions like Mental Health Week help turn up the volume in the public’s debate and enable us to understand a whole lot more.
With The Rainbow Venues being a well-recognised establishment in the UK music industry, we’ve decided to focus on mental health within the music industry this week, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
According to Help Musicians UK, over 60% of musicians suffer from mental health issues, with a major concern being the unsociable hours required to work. Worryingly, almost half of the musicians who consulted the NHS were disappointed with the response they received.
“Let’s try and break down the taboo. Let’s try and open the conversation.”—Nigel Hamilton, Help Musicians UK
In an industry where musicians are the driving force, mental health can’t be ignored anymore – it’s right in front of us. The people we’ve become familiarised with, such as Benga and other big time artists we all know and love, could be suffering. Often, mental health is brought on or triggered by anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug use. Yet, one in five still believe that the main cause is “simply a lack of self-discipline or willpower.”
Mental health issues in the music industry are on going and could be closer to home than we realise. The aim is to remove the stigma and shed light on the problem so that we can continue to help individuals where necessary.
Talk about it. Spread the word. Support the people.