October 10th is celebrated across the globe as World Mental Health Day.
This day dedicated to bringing global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma to the forefront has been celebrated since 1992. The initiative that was first taken by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries, has now grown to gain support worldwide.
While today is a day dedicated to the primary motive of increasing awareness and get rid of the shackles of social stigmas surrounding mental health, people are opening up about the issues they’re facing to help do this every day.
While it has grown to now become a known fact, the numbers are still startling. Through a survey in 2018 run by Skiddle, a ticketing and event company, they found that 82% of people in the music industry were experiencing high levels of stress, 67% said they had anxiety and 40% said they had struggled with depression.
An incident in the recent past that was a rude wake-up call to the industry and drew a lot of instant attention towards addressing mental health issues, has without a doubt been the passing of Avicii in 2018. While the life of a DJ might sound like living the dream, the pressures that come with it are immense. As pointed out by The Independent, evidence shows that long touring can take a severe toll on an artist’s physical and mental health. The accompanying lifestyle neglects basic human needs; disrupted sleeping patterns, physical distance from friends and family, readily available drugs, and alcohol and the pressure of performing in front of large crowds can be a lethal combination.
While Avicii had always been a vocal advocate and addressed his issues headfirst, a number of other artists have also opened up about their struggles with mental health and taken the required time out to address it.
One of the most recent revelations addressing the issue came from the five-time #1 DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren. He went on to say how in his 20+ year career he has had his fair share of struggles. Saying “I suffered a lot from it. In 2010, I was number 1 in the world, but the unhappiest person on earth.”
A number of DJ’s and producers have addressed their struggles with mental health and opened up about them publically in an effort to show it is a real issue that a lot of people face and to break the stigma that surrounds it and encourage people to get the help they need to deal with it. While it’s not too late for artists like Hardwell to Laidback Luke and Carl Cox to Benga who addressed and arrested their issues and burnouts in time, a lot of times in cases like that of Keith Flint from The Prodigy and Mac Miller, we lost some extremely talented musicians to the succumbing pressures of the mental health issues the industry and fame bring with it.
Some of the leading gatherings within the industry have begun to give the much-deserved attention that the issue deserves in an attempt to address and arrest it. From ADE to IMS, the issue is getting the attention it called for after the alarming rise in the past few years.
Speaking about mental health and how it has affected the industry for many years at IMS, industry veteran Pete Tong said, “In my 40 years of being around this world, I can’t think of a single person who has achieved success who hasn’t paid a personal price via health, relationships, divorce, broken homes, addiction, depression, and anxiety.”
While it isn’t only the talent in the industry who need help, its also a large number of attendees and this is the time to wake up to the reality of the issue and address it before it is too late. Looking out not only for one another but also for ourselves and garnering the courage to seek the help we need, and most of all remember, you are not alone!
Coinciding with World Mental Health Day (10th October), The Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) has launched a mental health guide for people working in the electronic music industry. The guide aims to educate, provide practical support, and further destigmatize the subject of mental health.
The guide can be viewed online and downloaded here.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. For mental health support in the UK call Help Musicians UK’s free Helpline on 0808 802 8008. In the USA call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free on 1-800-273-8255.
Today, we would like to encourage anyone who feels the need to, not just speak out but also seek out the help to deal with this their mental health issues and arrest them in the bud.