Worth Living Ambassador & WL Official DJ – Ashley Quackenbush
I am 23, from Ontario. I have been DJ’ing in Toronto and throughout Ontario since I was 18. I joined Worth Living because I wanted to be able to share my mental health journey. I wanted to share to the public my struggle with mental illness and how I have found my life that is now worth living. I wanted to be able to raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma that is around mental illness. Knowing that I might help even just one person that may be struggling is a wonderful feeling.
I love being a Worth Living Ambassador because as the Official DJ for Worth Living, I get to bring people together with music and raise awareness at the same time. Music is something everyone can relate to. I’m a true believer that music can help people though the dark times and can be a major asset in the recovery process. Sometimes music can speak words and show emotions that we can’t always express on our own.
Here’s a little blog post I put together last night. It’s similar to one I wrote previously but I focus on a new helpline for musicians. Even though I’m big believer that music is a form of therapy. I also believe that musicians shouldn’t have to sacrifice their mental health and wellbeing making art.
Caution: Ashley mentions some musicians who have died by suicide.
Mental Health in the Music Industry: Support for Musicians
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a campaign called #MusicMindsMatter in the UK while surfing the web. Intrigued, I clicked on the link to read more. I felt hopeful as I read more about the organization. The organization is helping musicians and people who work in the music industry that are struggling with their mental health.
This year alone in the music industry we lost names like Chester Bennington the front man of Linkin Park, Sound Garden’s lead Chris Cornell and a member of Shinee, Jonghyun. Mental illness is an invisible illness. You can’t tell who is struggling by just looking at them. Sometimes it is difficult for one who is struggling to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes we don’t know one is struggling until it’s too late and they have taken their own life. Musicians face unique challenges every day that the general public does not. Some of these challenges being but not limited to include; unstable work environment, delayed financial rewards, worries about money, social media, constant feedback and so much more. This all can take a toll on a musician’s mental health.
Recently, Help Musicians UK launched a phone support line for not only musicians but their management team, tour crews and record labels called Music Minds Matter. The helpline offers support, resources, and advice for people working in the music industry that might be struggling with mental illness. We can say it’s a start for the music industry but there is a long way to go. There is a high demand for this kind of service in all levels of the music industry. I’m hoping that this organization will get the recognition that it deserves and spreads to a worldwide movement.
#MusicMindsMatter is a branch from the Help Musicians UK organization. Musicians in the UK can reach the phone helpline 24/7 free of charge. In March of 2014, Help Musicians UK conducted a survey about health and wellbeing in the music industry. They received responses from 552 musicians from various genres of music and stages in their careers with many bringing light to issues like anxiety, the number of hours they work alone, injury and hearing loss. Help Musicians UK also performed a similar survey in 2016. A total of 2,211 people who work in the music industry participated in the survey. The findings from the survey found that musicians are up to three times more likely than the general public to suffer from mental illness. After the studies, it is clear that musicians want affordable and easy access to mental health services. Musicians also want to be able to talk to professionals who understand their unique challenges that they face day-to-day.
To find out more about Music Minds Matter visit http://www.musicmindmatters.org.uk
To find out more about Help Musicians UK visit www.helpmusicians.org.uk