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Can Music Make You Sick? New research from The University of Westminster finds musicians are three times more likely to suffer illness

Music 4 November 2016

Darkly lit man playing guitar in a hat

Help Musicians UK has published the first set of research from MusicTank at The University of Westminster into mental health issues experienced by musicians and the wider music industry.

MusicTank, the music industry think tank based at The University of Westminster worked with academic authors Sally Gross and Dr George Musgrave, teachers on the Music Business Management MA at Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, to conduct the biggest research survey so far into the links between working in the music industry and mental health issues.

The survey asked 2,211 respondents how music and working in the music industry has influenced their lives. The results provided valuable insight into mental well-being, finding that 71.1% of respondents had experienced anxiety and panic attacks, and that 68.5% reported they had suffered from depression.

Many respondents attributed their mental health problems to poor working conditions, anti-social working hours, exhaustion and inability to plan their time/future. Another major finding showed that many participants felt underserved by available help and believed  seeking help to be both time consuming and difficult. Many claimed that seeking help outside of NHS can be very expensive.

When speaking about the research, Richard Robinson, Chief Executive of Help Musicians UK said:

“Sadly the results of this survey don’t come as a surprise and paint a concerning picture of the conditions for those working in the music industry.

“This survey is a vital first step in helping us to establish the scale of the problem and it highlights the importance of the next phases of the survey.”

The Help Musicians UK Music and Depression (MAD) campaign is continuing to work with University of Westminster on this initial research. Phase two of this research will be revealed in early 2017 along with the announcement of a dedicated task force set up to tackle the delicate issue of mental health in the music industry.

You can read the current report via the university’s think tank portal.

Find out more about MusicTank.


About the University of Westminster:

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We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 175-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

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Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.


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