UK Music Industry Faces Mental Health Crisis According to Musicians’ Union Report



In a significant revelation for the UK music industry, a recent report by the Musicians’ Union and charity Help Musicians sheds light on the alarming state of mental health crisis among musicians. The report, following the earlier ‘Musicians’ Census,’ explores the challenges faced by music-makers, with a particular focus on mental health.

Earlier this year, the Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians collaborated on their inaugural ‘Musicians’ Census,’ surveying nearly 6,000 music professionals in the UK. The initial report primarily examined earnings and the structure of musicians’ working lives.

A subsequent report delved into the experiences of musicians from the global majority. Now, a third report has been released, drawing attention to the mental wellbeing of musicians.

The latest report exposes concerning statistics within the music industry, revealing that 30% of musicians surveyed are experiencing poor mental wellbeing. However, this number significantly increases to 43% among LGBTQ+ musicians, 49% among disabled musicians, and a staggering 63% among trans musicians.

Factors Responsible For Mental Health Crisis

Factors contributing to mental health challenges include low earnings, discrimination, and geographic location, particularly outside of England.

“The highest rates of negative mental wellbeing by career stage are reported amongst students (41%) and those not yet working as a musician (41%). This suggests the need for dedicated support for those at the very early stages of a musicians’ career,” highlights the report.

A crucial point made by the report is the direct correlation between low mental wellbeing and musicians leaving the industry prematurely, potentially curtailing their artistic potential.

“Over twice as many musicians with low mental wellbeing felt it was unlikely they would be working in music in one or five years’ time, compared with musicians generally,” emphasizes the report.

Sarah Woods, Chief Executive of Help Musicians, emphasizes the urgency of building positive mental wellbeing within the music industry, particularly among the future generation of musicians.

“Insights from the Musicians’ Census show the need to build positive mental wellbeing for all who work in music but especially with the future generation so we can prevent crises before they happen,” says Woods.

Naomi Pohl, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, acknowledges the need for immediate action to address the root causes of poor mental wellbeing within the industry.

“At the same time as providing support for those who need it, as an industry we need to tackle the root causes of poor mental wellbeing. The Musicians’ Census has clearly identified contributing factors such as low pay, career barriers, and witnessing or experiencing discrimination,” Pohl states.

“It is particularly concerning that LGBTQ+ and disabled musicians experience some of the highest rates of low mental wellbeing, and the industry needs to work harder and faster to remove the barriers these communities of musicians face,” she adds.

The report serves as a call to action for the entire music industry, urging stakeholders to work collaboratively to address the systemic issues contributing to poor mental wellbeing among musicians. As artists continue to grapple with challenges ranging from low pay to discrimination, the need for a holistic approach to mental health support becomes increasingly apparent.

The Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians emphasize the importance of not only providing assistance to those currently in need but also proactively working to eliminate the structural barriers that contribute to mental health challenges.

By fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment, the industry aims to create a space where musicians can thrive both creatively and mentally.

The report concludes by underlining the critical role of the music community in collectively building an industry that prioritizes positive mental health for all its members.

As the findings resonate throughout the sector, the hope is that this awareness sparks a transformative shift toward a more mentally resilient and equitable music industry in the UK.

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