Classical Music’s ‘Harmony in Mind’ campaign, launched today, aims to support musicians and lead the way in securing better mental health provision across the sector

A recent study by Help Musicians UK found that 71% of respondents experienced anxiety and panic attacks, while 65% reported they had suffered from depression (three times higher than in the general population)

A report by the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that between 2011 and 2015 the risk of suicide was 20% higher among men and 69% higher among women working in the culture sector than in rest of the workforce

A 2018 report commissioned by the concert promoter Skiddle reported that 65% of its respondents reported `an intense and unmanageable` level of pressure

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, Help Musicians UK, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union, Music Support, The Royal Society of Musicians, Help Musicians UK and ‘Time to Change’ support Classical Music’s ‘Harmony in Mind’ campaign to urge the industry to change and to sign up to the Time to Change Employers’ Pledge Classical Music, the magazine which serves as the voice of the classical music industry, has today launched a major campaign to unite the sector in combatting mental illness.

Classical Music is joined by seven of the leading mental health and industry charities working in the classical music business, including British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, Help Musicians UK, Incorporated Society of Musicians, Musicians’ Union, Music Support, The Royal Society of Musicians, Help Musicians UK and Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma movement led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Together they are calling on classical music industry leaders to engage in efforts to better support musicians and staff and deal proactively and holistically with the underlying causes of the crisis. They are urging more classical music organisations to sign up to the Time to Change Employers’ Pledge. Led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, ‘Time to Change’ is working with employers in all sectors to change how they think and act about mental health in the workplace, enabling them to ensure that employees feel supported and working to end mental health discrimination.

Over the course of its year-long campaign, Classical Music magazine will provide a much-needed platform to share best practice, new research, advice and resources for musicians. It will also launch initiatives for the industry such as creating an online campaign room, a virtual forum for visitors to pledge their support, share experiences and information, and will create opportunities for the industry to come together to discuss and debate the issues and solutions.

The campaign is spearheaded by the dynamic new editor of Classical Music, Lucy Thraves, an Oxford music graduate who wrestles with mental health challenges herself. She seeks to drive systematic and institutional change in the industry.

‘This wonderfully creative and enriching industry presents unusual challenges for its people, with high levels of stress around performance, job insecurity, widespread funding crises and sustained searching for an identity in modern society, conspiring to create unstable working environments for many. Stigma around mental health issues is still great, with constant anxiety and stress considered normal.

‘Through ‘Harmony in Mind’, I hope we can bring the industry together to foster an environment where people feel safe, supported and accepted and that we work together to promote a healthier atmosphere in the classical music profession.’

 

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