Tackling Mental Health in the Music Industry

Worth Living Ambassador and Official DJ Scratchley Q

Scrathley Q is a 23 year old from Manitoulin Island who loves sharing her passion for DJing with the public. She is a natural performer who has no problem filling a dance floor and keeping it moving. Scratchley Q is a high energy performer who has established a reputation as a versatile and professional, hardworking DJ. She presents a weekly Top Countdown of music videos for the WL blog.  She also has mixed 5 Volumes of Worth Living  BPM Therapy  www.mixcloud.com/djscratchleyq

Tackling Mental Health in the Music Industry

Many people say that 2016 was the breakthrough year for mental health in the music industry. Many musicians have spoken out about their struggles with mental illness. Some musicians including Zayn Malik, Kesha, Selena Gomez, Adele, Lady Gaga, just to name a few. But is it really enough? What is really behind the scenes of the music industry when it comes to the stigma around mental health? Most people can agree that music can make you feel good when you’re feeling down. Music can put you in a good mood.  Music is a way to express feelings that we may not have the exact words for. Music is a wonderful thing we can all agree.

The music industry is glamorous, right? Well, that might not be the case. Studies have found that musicians are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression. Being in the spotlight is a challenge in its self. The interviews, paparazzi, meetings, travel, promos, performance after performance during tours. Too much of this can lead to poor lifestyle choices, late nights, alcohol, drugs, and more which then can lead to poor mental health.

Musicians struggle with passion vs. job insecurity. Musicians are full of passion when it comes to creating and performing music. Sometimes we forget to turn off work mode. Most often there is no “work off” switch option. As I said, being in the spotlight is not easy. Issues like depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, panic attacks, self- harm in some cases, suicide are all too common in the industry.

In the last few years the industry has lost some great names. Suicides in the music industry should be a wake- up call for the industry to change a few things and quickly. It’s not something that can just wait. Who is to blame? The musician, managers, agents? Like the average person, musicians find it difficult to reach out especially when in the spotlight because there is no privacy. No one want’s others to judge them and no one wants to potentially lose their job. It can be very difficult. Now let’s put the musicians aside for a second. We can’t forget the managers, booking agents, the people that are behind the musicians. Many young mangers who  are just starting out in their careers lack resources. They may be struggling too, but feel afraid to ask for help. They may feel like they cannot ask for help because it might make them look unreliable and unprofessional. The stigma is strong and it will take a long time to break those barriers.

Job security in the music industry adds to the touchy subject. Sure, there are contracts and such, but if you can’t bring what the client needs or wants, you become old news. Your career is done! The music industry is working on ending the stigma around mental health and finding ways to create a strategy that will help everyone in the industry from the ground up. There is a long way to go. The music industry needs to work with partners and professionals of their own industry. Now that the industry has started to open the dialogue about mental health they need a concerted strategy that can help. No one should struggle in silence, we are all human, no matter our profession. The music industry should not have to suffer in silence. To the music industry, let’s keep that dialogue open. We need to come together as one.  – Scratchley Q

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