Lockdown Takes Mental Health Toll on Musicians

Musicians face unique demands on their psyche at the best of times. The rigours of touring and live performance, or the pressure to look camera-ready at all times, can take its toll. Others struggle with the stress of maintaining their creativity and delivering hit records in an ultra-competitive industry.


With the Covid-19 pandemic causing a huge financial crisis in the music industry, many self-employed musicians and road crew are facing the double whammy of not being able to continue their trade, and not qualifying for potential government support, according to an article in nme.com.


The live music sector is facing a very uncertain future, with the announcement of the cancellation of the iconic Glastonbury Music Festival for the second year in a row. According to the report in the Guardian, the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has stated that the government are looking into the problems around getting insurance for festivals.


Paul Read, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), commented on the Glastonbury cancellation: “You have to consider its global and cultural significance – it’s the largest green-field festival in the world, and it could set the tone in terms of public confidence for festivals going ahead this year.”


Festival organisers have called for a government-backed insurance scheme to protect them from bankruptcy in the event of a pandemic related cancellation. Without it, the once thriving UK music festival scene faces a terminal decline. The government has already stepped in with an insurance scheme to keep film and TV productions running.


Rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse have soared among musicians during 2020, according to several charities. A survey by the Musicians’ Union revealed that one third of musicians in the UK had considered quitting the industry after being overwhelmed by uncertainty and financial hardship.


Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the MU, commented: “These figures are devastating and show how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent. One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs – from lighting technicians to ticket sellers.”


He continues: “If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too. We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now.”


As if the Covid-19 impact wasn’t bad enough, musicians are facing further challenges posed by Brexit. Now we have left the EU, British musicians are no longer guaranteed visa-free travel in Europe. Extra work-permits are required in some countries, and limits on road haulage render the moving of equipment between multiple countries impossible.


A petition signed by over 250,000 people, including prominent members of the music industry, calls on the government to go back to the negotiating table and resolve the issue as soon as possible.


If you are a musician who is facing anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues, you may be interested in ways of learning to manage your symptoms and re-engage with your creativity. This could be through hypnotherapy or mindfulness therapy techniques. To find out more, get in touch with The Mindful Therapist today.

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