Bad Royale -- Mental Health and the Music Industry
A few days ago a tweet went live from artist Bad Royale that sparked an out pouring of love from musicians of varying genres. The tweet referenced a dark topic within mental health, one that is known but hushed over consistently especially within the music industry. Mental health is not a new topic by any means and has become such a forefront of conversation, often through meme culture and joking about how bad our own mental health is. It became a prevalent topic but through such a millennial way: jokes. This is by no means saying this entire generation does not take the topic seriously but more so as a way that the generation has come to cope with not having widely available resources. In recent years it has become a topic within the music industry but not to the point that it seems much is happening. I remember reading an article shared by one of my DJ friends on Facebook about the impending mental health crisis within this industry. Which was not a shocking read at all, I mean think about it. It is an industry that requires long hours, long nights, lots of caffeine and surrounded by party culture. Pair that with the pressure artists receive: constant touring, pressure to put out new music, the next album, making fans happy (which don't get me wrong here, they love their fans and what they do). However, there is a common thread within this industry to work ourselves to the bone. We are all climbing the ladder to try to be successful and with that comes painstakingly hard work and a lot of it. All of that genuinely takes a toll on a person's mental health though, especially without viable resources. Lets be honest, a lot of industry workers are contractual or freelance meaning there is not a big employer there offering benefits with the job that they signed up to do. It is also not a common theme to ask for help or ask for a mental health day (many of us very literally cannot afford that financially or career wise) so this all brings the question what do we do? Continue to suffer in silence? Talk about and be perceived as if we are bitching? Or attempt to change the culture so that everyone can be open about how they're struggling? I don't know about you but I much prefer the latter.
How do we change the culture internally? Reach out. If we are in a place that is not optimal, talk to the people in your circle. Many of us have mentors who have become close confidants or managers who are more like family or even just have friends within this industry. Holding these struggles in can wreak havoc on our well-being and our career. Pushing through until we can no longer is not the outcome any of us want, but people won't see what we feel inside unless we begin to change the conversation surrounding it. If we don't have the resources available to be with a therapist, then the next best thing is those we can confide in. I urge each of you reading this (music or not) to reach out if you feel yourself drowning. I urge you to reach out to your friends, both seemingly doing well or not and let them know you are there for them. We have to be the change we want to see not only in this industry but in the world. We can do this, together.