According to a new study, nearly three quarters of independent musicians suffer from mental illness related to the stress of their work.
The results come from a web survey put out by Swedish-based digital distribution platform Record Union, with nearly 1,500 respondents. The survey found 73 percent of self-identified independent musicians had faced mental health concerns, with anxiety and depression topping the list of symptoms. The numbers are even more concerning for younger musicians — 80 percent of independent musicians aged 18 to 25 reported suffering from mental illness of some kind.
57 percent of respondents said that they worry about their mental health and well-being, and 41 percent said that they worry about it multiple times a day. According to the survey, some factors contributing to the symptoms include fear of failure, financial instability, and the “pressure to deliver.” Compared to the statistics for the number of musicians suffering from mental illness, the number of musicians seeking treatment for mental illness are alarmingly low — just 39 percent of those who say they have suffered from symptoms.
“Our study is telling us that something needs to change,” said Record Union CEO Johan Svanberg in a statement. “It’s time to put the state of our artists’ mental health on the agenda, before streams and commercial success. We as an industry must wake up and ask ourselves: What’s our responsibility in this and what can we do to create a healthier music climate?”
To contribute to making the industry a more empathetic place, the Record Union will donate $30,000 to projects designed to prevent or treat mental illness in musicians. Interested parties can submit proposals for how to use the money here, and votes will determine which projects win.