The glamour of the music business often masks the toll that it can take on the minds of artists, regardless of their mental fortitude. With one study showing that over 60% of all musicians suffer from a mental health issue, it seems high time that more attention is given to the mental state of artists.
From substance abuse to weird behavior, many artists simply become overwhelmed with the pressure of constantly being in the spotlight and the expectations placed on them. That’s probably why some players in the music industry believe it is important for music managers to play a role in how the mental health of their clients is handled. Managers are often the closest individuals to artists and can give them advice etc. that could help them deal with whatever issue they are faced with.
This important fact was highlighted during the recent observation of Mental Health Awareness Week, which took place May 16 – 22. Discussions surrounding the matter looked at the importance of communication and how healthy work relationships between good managers and their clients could protect the mental, emotional and physical state of artists. Such a partnership could possibly prove to be beneficial for both parties.
Mental Illness and Artists
Over the years, many musical celebrities have been afflicted with mental illness but it seems only recently that there has been increased awareness about its effect on the creative industries.
The life of an artist can prove to be fodder for abnormal mental behavior, including bouts of anxiety and depression. Some of them are constantly on tours, with very few breaks in between; many don’t know how to handle the sudden attention thrust upon them by the public; while others simply feel alone as they are not able to socialize and communicate with friends and family as they did before stardom. Add uncaring handlers, who only see dollar signs to the mix, and the artist becomes a ticking time bomb, whether there was a
predisposition for mental illness or not.
It was pointed out that many artists died young in the 1960s from drug and alcohol overdoses when the music industry started to blossom. While there have been fewer deaths since that time, there are a number of tragedies that could be attributed to unstable mental conditions. Amy Winehouse is among the most recent names that come to mind. She died in 2011 from alcohol intoxication after struggling with drug and alcohol abuse for several years.
There are also a number of artists who have spoken openly about their battles with mental illness, some of whom are still struggling. They include Sinead O’Connor, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Demi Lovato, who is also believed to be bipolar, and Florence Welch, who confessed to suffering from depression last year.
It’s a common belief in the music industry that creative genius and mental disorders go together. This is probably one reason why a blind eye has often been turned to the problem where brilliant songwriters, singers and musicians are concerned. Whether that is the case or not, many artists who struggle with mental illness just need a listening ear from time to time. That’s why it is believed managers could play such a vital role in preventing more of them from going off the deep end.