MusiCares Shares "Wellness In Music" Study Results
Dear Friends of MusiCares,
Although this is a difficult time for everyone, I'd like to take a moment to recognize one group of people who have been particularly impacted by this pandemic – the resilient individuals that MusiCares serves: our beloved music community.
I joined MusiCares as their Executive Director in June, only a few short months after we began the largest relief effort in our history. We could never have known that the music community would be sidelined — for eleven months now — by a pandemic of this magnitude. MusiCares is no stranger to helping people through difficult moments, having served the music community in times of need since 1989. But truly, nothing has reached the scope of this year. Since our COVID Relief effort began in March 2020, over $22 million has been distributed to more than 25,000 music people and their families.
But as the pandemic wears on, the financial need continues. In October, MusiCares launched a first-of-its-kind "Wellness in Music" survey to assess the music community's mental health and overall well-being. 51 percent of survey respondents indicated they had low to very low levels of confidence in being able to afford basic living expenses during the pandemic. 62 percent indicated experiencing moderately high to very high levels of financial stress, on a daily basis. Members of the live music industry have been hit particularly hard. Concert venues were the first to close, and will be the last to reopen. These days, live events account for 75 percent of an artist's income. And behind every artist, there are thousands of side musicians, crew members, and stagehands, without whom there would be no shows. For these individuals, live events often account for 100 percent of their income.
The financial insecurity faced by the music community amid the pandemic has also had an effect on mental health. 26 percent of MusiCares survey respondents reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression. In comparison, a 2019 National Health Interview Survey of U.S. adults found only 4.7 percent reported regular feelings of depression.
Music people – we want you to know that we hear you, and we are here for you.
While 34.9 percent of survey respondents did seek counseling for depression, anxiety and stress, 53.5 percent of those respondents said they were unable to get counseling because they could not afford it. MusiCares can help. Our mental health and addiction recovery services include financial assistance for therapy, psychiatric care, inpatient substance abuse treatment, sober living, and more. Our team of licensed professionals provides each client with support and referrals, treating each case with confidentiality and care.
MusiCares also hosts a variety of free cyber support groups each week. Our Addiction Recovery Groups offer a safe environment in which clients can discuss the challenges of staying clean and sober in the music industry. We also offer Emotional Support Groups for those feeling stressed or anxious about the state of the music industry or are just looking for a bit of community and support. All groups are free of charge and open to any music person interested in attending.
Additionally, our "Wellness in Music" survey will be an annual MusiCares initiative in order to keep the pulse of the music industry. The survey will be used to gauge the most pressing issues at hand for the music community – as well as understand new and emerging issues – all with the goal to better serve the music industry.
While the pandemic rages on, so does our tireless work of supporting the humans behind the music – because they give so much to the world. Perhaps it is best summed up by a note from one of our own clients, a tour manager:
"As a crew member, venue worker and freelancer, this is the first time in my 17 years of experience where it feels like my profession has the spotlight it deserves as well. We get so buried in gig hunting and traveling on a bus in circles that the world passes us by and we spend our days swimming through audiences to get to our artist, and make them feel safe and successful. When our industry now finds itself in the same vulnerable position, alone on an empty stage, it's a brilliant feeling to know that the world can become our audience as well, and cheer and encourage us to keep going. Many thanks."
Together, we will keep the music playing.
*If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance or wish to support MusiCares' efforts to aid music professionals in need, visit MusiCares.org.