World Mental Health Day 2022 | Support For The Music Industry

Starting back in 1992, World Mental Health Day now takes place each year on 10 October.  It’s a pertinent time to reflect on how we each manage our mental health and take stock. Understanding of the importance of taking care of our mental health is certainly growing. With this in mind, we want to make you aware of the tools that are out there to support you in the music industry. Whether you are a producer, engineer, artist or working in another area of music or professional audio there are a variety of platforms you can access.

Who better to seek advice from than a chartered psychologist who specialises in music psychology? We caught up with Dr Claire Renfrew, who is a strong advocate for music and communication alongside health and well-being, being crucial elements to our sense of self. Thanks to Claire who is our guest writer for this article and highlights the positive impact of music on our mental health and shares valuable tools.

What Are The Positive Impacts Music Can Have On Mental Health?

Music is often viewed as a fundamental element of being human. It enables us to obtain emotional regulation, a sense of freedom and discovery alongside purpose and fulfilment. Music alleviates, manages and reduces stress, anxiety and signs of depression. It can be an effective tool in relation to mindfulness. Not only can it help us to be present in the moment it can also help to recall some of our happiest and most favourable memories.

Music is our own individual interpretation of someone else’s story and a way in which we can bond and relate to someone we may not have met. It is a unique form of expression, which touches us in an emotive and creative sense. Music is essential to positive mental health and well-being. It motivates us to exercise and encourages social bonding; in turn, enhancing interpersonal communication skills. It supports healthy sleep patterns and relaxation, soothes physical pain and furthers learning. Music is seen as a badge of identity for who we are or who we choose to be seen as, which reflects our ongoing journey of emotional expression.

Additionally, music is a therapeutic tool for sleep and relaxation and has powerful effects on the body. It slows down breathing, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, eases muscle and physical tensions, reduces stress and anxiety, and triggers the ‘sleep-friendly’ hormones serotonin and oxytocin.

Engaging in musical activities contributes to feelings of social inclusiveness in individuals. For example, belonging to a choir. And it is proven that undertaking musical pursuits can enhance interpersonal communication skills. Taking part in musical activities is a way to connect with other people and gain new skills. Often a collective identity can exist for those who share musical activities together, a sense of community, and a way to develop personal, social and professional relationships.

world mental health day in the music industry

As we honour World Mental Health Day today it’s important to look at those around us here at the Abbey Road Institute and to recognise the positive mental health benefits of music. And consider the negative mental health issues that we may contend with in the music industry. Pressures within the music industry are not a new experience. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of musicians who are opening up about their mental health issues. Sadly we have lost some of the creative family (Keith Flint, Avici and Mac Miller) to different mental health issues. Artists including Stormzy, Liam Payne, Selena Gomez, Frank Carter and Billie Eilish have opened up about the problems that they have faced and have encouraged others to discuss their own experiences.

According to a Help Musicians UK survey in 2016, it was found that from a sample of 2,000 plus participants who were interviewed, 71% experienced anxiety and 69% dealt with depression. Due to the post-pandemic climate, these feelings may be magnified. Additionally, there have been numerous studies that have explored both the physical and psychological issues that musicians can experience such as; hearing disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, occupational stress and musculoskeletal disorders. 

What support is available for you in the music industry?

We have condensed some of the information that is out there for you. This outlines some companies that may be able to help you emotionally, professionally and financially within the music industry. Below is a list of companies that offer support to individuals across the creative community:

Musicians Union

Musicians Union is a globally respected organisation which represents over 32,000 musicians working right across the music industry. As well as negotiating on behalf of musicians with all the major employers in the industry; they provide advice, services and assistance tailored to each individual member. They are behind every musician – whether you are full-time, part-time, self-employed or a student musician.

prs foundation

The PRS Foundation invests in the future of music by supporting talent development and new music across the UK. They enable songwriters and composers of all backgrounds to realise their potential and reach audiences across the world. Since March 2020 they have supported over 7,300 new music initiatives to the tune of over £35 million. They do this through open grant schemes which are available to musicians and organisations and partnership programmes which they lead in response to specific needs and gaps in funding. Head over to PRS Foundation for more information.

Help Musicians UK – Music Minds Matters

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Music Minds Matter is a support line and service for the whole UK music community. If you want someone to talk to, or even explore avenues for ongoing support, get in touch, anytime. They’re here to help: 0808 802 8008. 


Bectu is the union for creative ambition. They represent over 40,000 staff, and contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries. Their members work in non-performance roles in broadcasting; film and cinema, digital media, independent production, leisure, theatre and the arts. They will support members when something goes wrong at work and will stand up for their members’ rights and protect their jobs. You can find them at Bectu.

Music Support

Music Support is a registered charity founded and run by people from the UK music industry, for individuals in any area of the UK music industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders (including but not limited to alcohol and drug addiction).

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) is a healthcare charity giving medical advice to people working and studying in the performing arts. BAPAM helps individuals overcome (and preferably avoid) work-related health problems and are dedicated to sharing knowledge about healthy practice. They supply free clinics, resources, a directory of practitioners and healthy performance events. As well as training alongside performing arts medicines training for health professionals. BAPAM also support research into all aspects of health and well-being in the performing arts.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)

The ISM is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, they have dedicated themselves to promoting the importance of music. Protecting the rights of those working in the music profession. The ISM support almost 10,000 members across the UK and Ireland. They provide legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Their members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds. As well as working musicians, their members also include part-time and full-time students and retired musicians. They campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. They are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows them the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

more information on Music and mental health

If you’d like to find out more about the positive impact of music on mental health check out The Sound Of The Next Generation. It’s a comprehensive review of children’s and young people’s relationship with music. And on the Frontiers of Psychology, Editorial: The Impact of Music on Human Development And Mental Health.