Panel: mental health and music 1

In January, Sony organized a panel in London about mental health and music. They invited 3 speakers to look at mental health from different perspectives. While the event was planned to be for employees of Sony only, the great response lead them to invite friends in the music industry as well, with in the end more than 300 people attending the event.

I invited Bec Adams, one of the initiators of the event, to tell me more about it. She gave me a short summary of the panelists and the event:

Paul Farmer, the CEO of MIND, talked about mental health in general. He shared the benefits of music therapy and mentioned some of Mind’s projects, using creativity as treatment for mental problems. It’s very important to him that we all work together to remove the stigma around mental health.

George Musgrave, co-author of the UK study “Can Music Make You Sick?“, looked at it from the perspective of the musician, how the financial instability of a career as musician can affect their mental health and well-being.

Tara Day, trauma and addictions therapist, discussed how the lifestyle of people working in the music industry can have an effect on their mental well-being. Pressure, long working hours and a party culture can create trauma and can even support the development of an addiction.

When I asked Bec Adams what the best advice was to her personally, she said: “I was most personally affected by Tara Day, the Trauma & Addictions Therapist and her views on being ‘always on’ and our addictions to our phones.”

The great success of this event shows how important the subject of mental health is to the music industry. All participants agreed that the conversation about mental health and music cannot begin and end with one event. We all need to get involved, plan our next steps and keep the conversation going.


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One thought on “Panel: mental health and music

  • Peggy Finston MD

    Music is powerful and can change consciousness and ultimately people’s mental health. That is what sound, trance and rhythmic therapies do: take us at our most distressed place and transport us to the land of calm. If we become smart at living, we can use these tools to disrupt the chaos that disrupts us. The issue with today’s pacing of life is that we have accepted chaos as the norm without realizing it. We confused a chaotic state with being “productive.” We have also confused being “at ease” with being “lazy.” In other words, our fight or flight nervous system, that adrenalin rush, is what we believe is pleasure and we wearing ourselves out.

    That’s a different issue than how musicians can maintain good mental health in this profession. .I might add that others face this dilemma, outside of music. For example, physicians have an increased suicide rate the past few years largely attributed to work conditions. Many musicians and medical doctors have prepared for these roles since childhood. Not so easy to give up and not so easy to find sane workarounds, either.