May 20, 2019 / 7:36 AM

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Study Suggests 60 Percent of Touring Musicians Suffer Mental Health Issues



A frightening study has come from Help Musicians UK, a charity dedicated to supporting up-and-coming musicians as well as aging ones, which claims that more than 60 percent of musicians it surveyed suffered from a mental health disorder of some sort. A huge majority of those suffering struggled with depression but that's still nothing to ignore.

This might not be entirely surprising...after all, depression has been one of the most influential subjects in music for centuries. What's more disturbing however is that the study doesn't suggest depressed people become musicians, but rather that being a musician makes people depressed. This study dealt entirely with people who play music as a primary source of income, and one factor quickly became evident as a cause of depression: touring. More than 70 percent of those asked agreed that touring was a major source of their mental health troubles.

Willis Earl Beal, a folk and experimental music producer, explained the struggle of adjusting from the road to the home for the study.

"Touring can be destructive on a musician, it was destructive on me, that's for sure," he said. "I'd come home from tour, and I'm back to feeding the cat. My wife at the time—I don't have a wife now—worked 12-hour shifts , so I was cooking the dinner all that sort of sh*t. There was a lot of tension, because I'm thinking to myself, 'I don't deserve this, I'm a big star' and that was one of the contributing factors in ending my marriage. This f*cking career, the striving towards something that never existed and doesn't exist."

Another interviewee suggested that musicians don't seek help because they realize the pain of touring is somewhat self-inflicted. We all know better. If you, a musician or anyone else, struggles with depression, please find help, from a loved one or otherwise.

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