Musician plays a piano as the sun sets through a window

Expansion of mental health services after report into impact of uncertainty on musicians 

  • Over half of musicians surveyed are no longer earning any money from music 
  • Money worries a key factor with 7 in 10 not confident they can cope over the next six months and nearly one third think it will be 2022 before income levels return to normal
  • 9 out of 10 Musicians’ Mental Health has Deteriorated Due to the Dual Impact of Lockdown and Uncertainty, with Brexit the final straw
  • 91% say a lack of certainty about the future has damaged their mental health and over half say uncertainty about Brexit’s impact on the music industry has added to this 
  • Help Musicians saw a 40% increase in requests for mental health support in 2020, and a 65% increase in the last three month

The combined effect of lockdown and fears over the impact of the Brexit deal on musicians’ ability to tour in Europe are taking an unprecedented toll on the mental health of musicians, according to new research, released today from independent charity Help Musicians.

The study, amongst over 700 musicians across the UK, has revealed that 87% say that their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic, with over half (59%) saying worries about the impact of Brexit on the music industry are contributing. 

The findings have led Help Musician’s chief executive James Ainscough to call the situation a hidden crisis amongst musicians”, with the charity recently expanding its mental health service provision to support the current and future need.

Financial concerns are a key cause of the mental health problems. The research revealed that 96% are worried about their financial situation with 70% not confident they will be able to cope financially’ over the next six months. Half (51%) are currently earning nothing at all from music. Over half of respondents are currently relying on universal credit (56%) a third (32%) are relying on loans or handouts from friends of family. 

For most musicians, making music is more than just a job, it’s their mission in life. But a quarter (24%) say they are currently considering leaving the music profession for good, meaning the UK could be missing out on the next generation of talented global music stars because they no longer see a future in the industry. 

The research suggests that most musicians are not getting the support they need, with four in five of those experiencing mental health problems (81%) saying they have not yet received a clinical mental health diagnosis to confirm their issues and to allow them to get the professional help they need. Alongside financial worries, other things negatively impacting musicians’ mental health are a lack of certainty about the future’ (91%), not being able to perform (81%), and having no purpose (66%)

Many of these issues are having knock-on impacts, with a third (36%) saying they are experiencing relationship issues and 41% citing concerns around losing their home. 

During 2020, Help Musicians saw a 40% increase in demand and foreseeing the future need, bolstered its mental health service. Their support includes a phone line staffed by BACP accredited Counsellors which operates 24/7 365 days of the year. 

Services are also aimed at supporting specific areas which are having a detrimental impact on musicians’ mental health – including a debt service that offers advice and counselling to musicians experiencing money issues. This provides practical, emotional and behavioural support to help individuals take control of their financial situation for a broad range of situations from basic budgeting and financial education to severe/​chronic cases of debt which may include repossessions, bankruptcy and repayment agreements. 

James Ainscough, Chief Executive said, We can’t sugar coat these findings – we are facing a mental health crisis amongst musicians on an unprecedented scale. Whilst there may be light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap out of lockdown revealed, there is still substantial uncertainty around how quickly the music industry can recover, plus the catastrophic impact of the Brexit deal on musicians’ ability to tour. After a year of hardship, the ongoing uncertainty for musicians is taking a huge toll on mental health. 

We have been offering ongoing financial support to thousands of musicians throughout the pandemic, but offering money is just one part of what musicians need – we have also had to completely revamp the mental health support we offer to address this rapidly unfolding crisis. Musicians who cannot work don’t just suffer financially, they grieve for the creativity and connections that their music usually brings. This is why we have bolstered our mental health support for musicians across the UK. If you are a musician who needs urgent help or simply a listening ear, please call Music Minds Matter now on 0808 802 8008.”

Help Musicians is asking those who are in a position to donate to give whatever they can through their website, in order to help them to help more musicians throughout the UK with important services and support. Every penny donated to Help Musicians goes straight to the frontline without any deduction to cover its administration costs or overheads. 

Notes to editors:

Research conducted amongst 716 musicians between [HELP MUSICIANS TO INSERT DATES] 2021 by Help Musicians. 

For media enquiries, or to request an interview with a Help Musicians representative, please contract:

Chris Bull, Newsfeed PR: CBull@​NewsfeedPR.​co.​uk / 07760 273 160

Katie Murray, Newsfeed PR: KMurray@​NewsfeedPR.​co.​uk / 07595 251 580