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Help Musicians sees 200 per cent increase in mental health service engagement 

The musicians’ charity Help Musicians has reported a huge spike in usage of their mental health services over the past two years.

The charity, which supports professional musicians in the UK, has warned of a growing mental health crisis in the industry, reporting a 200 per cent increase in people engaging with their services.

Help Musicians has a dedicated mental health service called Music Minds Matter, a free, 24/7 service which was launched last year and allows musicians access to counsellors who offer emotional support, advice and information.

According to the charity, the burgeoning mental health crisis is connected to financial issues, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which temporarily brought touring to a halt.

“Music is a serious career,” head of Help Musicians Joe Hastings told the BBC. “People creating music work incredibly hard and have very difficult schedules.

“It’s a very competitive industry, lots of late nights and time away from home.”

He added: “People need to be respected for their abilities and skills, which needs to be reflected in what they earn and the level of skill involved.”

One Bristol-based performer said the charity paid for 10 sessions of therapy. Sid Goldsmith  said they were “very helpful to me and set some good habits in place for me”.

He added that the pandemic shutdown had hit independent musicians and venues particularly hard, sharing: “There are so many niches in the industry that are really rich and necessary. They are our cultural compass and important to champion.”

In October this year, figures from the music industry spoke to NME about the “dangerous” and “pressure cooker” impact that touring can have on musicians.

It comes after huge artists like Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, Shawn Mendes and Wet Leg have all cancelled shows while citing mental health issues.

Editors guitarist Justin Lockey also sat out of the band’s summer 2022 dates due to “struggles with anxiety”, telling NME: “It can be a very isolating, lonely and strange existence. You’re not in the same routine as most of the rest of the planet.”

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