A third of musicians experience poor mental health

Hattie Butterworth
Monday, November 27, 2023

Results from the first musicians' census are in

The 2023 Musicians Census received close to 6,000 responses
The 2023 Musicians Census received close to 6,000 responses

Research conducted by the Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians has revealed that almost a third (30%) of UK musicians are experiencing a negative impact to their mental health and wellbeing. Released following the first UK Musicians’ Census, the report shows that of the 6,000 musicians that replied to the census, four in ten musicians with negative mental wellbeing are likely to leave their career in music within five years.

The report also found that lower earners (earning less than £7,000 a year from music) were twice as likely to report poor mental health compared to those earning in excess of £55,000. LGBTQ+ and disabled musicians reported higher levels of mental illness (43% and 49% respectively) and over 20% of musicians reporting poor mental health have experienced discrimination.

Further figures from the report reveal that nearly a quarter (23%) of musicians who participated in the survey reported they do not earn enough to support themselves or their families with half of musicians reporting low mental health said they are in debt (47%). Musicians in England were least likely to report low mental wellbeing (30%) compared to respondents in other nations: Wales (37%), Northern Ireland (34%) and Scotland (33%). 

Sarah Woods, chief executive of both Help Musicians and its subsidiary charity, Music Minds Matter, said: ’Through Help Musicians’ sister charity Music Minds Matter we see firsthand the impact that low mental wellbeing can have on the lives and careers of UK musicians and those who work around them. 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.’

MU general secretary Naomi Pohl said: ‘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... Musicians are the lifeblood of the music industry and there’s a clear link between poor mental wellbeing and leaving the industry. Having a mentally healthy workforce must be a priority for us all.’

 

 

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