73 Percent Of Independent Musicians Suffer Mental Illness Symptoms, New Study Finds

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 11: (L-R) Musicians Dave Grohl (L) and Zac Brown perform onstage during “The Concert For Valor” at The National Mall on November 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HBO)

A new study found that 73 percent of independent musicians reported suffering from mental illness symptoms in the past, while only 19 percent felt the music industry provides healthy working conditions.

The results, which were published on April 30, are based on a web survey of nearly 1,500 independent musicians by Swedish-based digital distribution platform Record Union between March 21 and April 2.

Record Union CEO Johan Svanberg said in a statement provided to Billboard. “Our study is telling us that something needs to change. It’s time to put the state of our artists’ mental health on the agenda, before streams and commercial success. We as an industry must wake up and ask ourselves: What’s our responsibility in this and what can we do to create a healthier music climate?”

In addition to depression and anxiety, 33% of those surveyed had experienced panic attacks, while 57% said they worry about their mental health and well-being and 41% said they worry about it multiple times a day. Factors contributing to the symptoms include fear of failure, financial instability, being evaluated by others and the “pressure to deliver.” 

Of those who said they had suffered from symptoms of mental illness, only 39% said they had sought out treatment for their symptoms. Of that same group, 51% said they had self-medicated, the majority with alcohol and drugs.