The New Zealand Music Foundation provides support to members of the local music industry in times of illness, distress and hardship, and develops and assists projects across all areas of society that use music to positively influence the lives of those in need.
The charity has today released a full report from its New Zealand Music Community Wellbeing Survey. Conducted in July this year, the survey is currently the world’s largest per-capita quantitative research project to examine the health and wellbeing of the music community. Over 1350 respondents answered 40 questions about their working hours and income, sleep, nutrition and exercise, drug and alcohol use, mental health, support networks and more.
Initial results from the survey, released in September, showed that over a third of songwriters, composers and performers report having been diagnosed with a mental health disorder - almost double the incidence in the general population (1)- and were two and a half times as likely to have been diagnosed with depression as the general population (2).
The full report further reveals that songwriters, composers and performers are almost three and half times as likely to have an issue with hazardous drinking as the rest of the population.
It also found that of the 140 survey respondents who reported making plans and preparations to commit suicide, 100 said they had gone on to make a suicide attempt (3).
Comments from those surveyed illustrate the difficulties of a life in music:
“This is such an important issue for artists - many of us find ourselves supporting each other clumsily, through the power of solidarity alone. Others of us just don't talk about it with people at all.”
“It has been a lonely road at times and one where I have watched a lot of friends die. My hope is for a better, healthier future for musicians, an environment in which they will be treasured and respected.”
Informed by the initial survey findings, the New Zealand Music Foundation Wellbeing Service was launched on September 29th, a world-first online, on the phone and in-person free professional counselling service for Kiwi music people experiencing hardship. Service Director Julie Crawley comments:
“In the eight weeks the service has been in operation we’ve had an extraordinary response, higher than any other industry support line service of this type in my experience. While some calls have been general in nature, others have been serious with presenting issues including mental health, managing in the industry, the difficulties of financial sustainability, depression and anxiety, chronic health concerns and more.”
Julie feels the service is making a great impression:
“Those who have been referred to in-person counselling have given feedback that the sessions have been of great relief and help. There is a genuine appreciation of there being a tailored avenue of support available for music people now, and I believe that use of The New Zealand Music Foundation Wellbeing Service will grow and develop.”
The full New Zealand Music Community Wellbeing Survey report can be found at www.nzmusicfoundation.org.nz/wellbeing/survey/