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New Study Finds Musicians Are More Likely To Suffer From Depression And Anxiety Than Others

Written by Sam Murphy on November 3, 2016

A new study has found that musicians are up to three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the general public.

The report titled Can Music Make You Sick? published by UK charity Help Musicians, was put together based of a survey of 2,211 people by the University of Westminster and its music industry-focussed think tank, Music Tank.

According to the surveyed participants, 71 per cent of them have experienced panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety while another 65 per cent say they have suffered from depression at one point in their life.

Interestingly it’s not making the music that is making them anxious or depressed, it’s the pressure of the industry combined with poor working conditions and the lack of support.

“My depression is made worse by trying to exist as a musician,” one respondent explained.

Rarely has playing music been detrimental to my health, quite the opposite…but the industry and socio-economic pressures…make this a f*****g s**** industry to try and make a living in.”

Another said it was about, “It’s the lack of things I’d consider success.”

“It’s the lack of support doing something that’s not considered “real work”.”

Sadly, the majority (53 per cent) of those surveyed said that they had not found it easy to find help with 55 per cent responding that they feel there’s a gap in the provision of services for musicians.

While musicians made up for the largest percentage of those surveyed (39 per cent), there were also other music industry professionals who responded. 7 per cent worked at a label or in music publishing, 9 per cent were in music management and 4 per cent worked in audio production among others.

The vast majority of respondents worked in rock, pop or classical genres with country and metal the least represented.

Last year, a study revealed that heavy metal fans and musicians are happier than other music lovers as they, “reported higher levels of youthful happiness” and “were also less likely to have any regrets about things they had done in their youth.”

On the flip-side non-metalheads were more likely to seek “psychological counselling for emotional problems.”

For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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