New book to help support mental health of touring musicians set for release

Speaking about the upcoming book, Radiohead's Philip Selway said: “It should be the first thing we all pack when we head out on the road..."

A new book designed to support the mental health of touring musicians will be released this spring.

The book, titled Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual explores the impact touring can have on the mental health of musicians.

The 600-page book, written by psychotherapist and former booker, Tamsin Embleton, includes interviews with the likes of Nile Rogers, Four Tet, Radiohead’s Philip Selway and more.


A synopsis of the book reads: “This comprehensive mental health and touring guide for musicians will help artists, tour managers, production managers, crew, and artist teams to identify and cope with the various psychological difficulties that can occur during or as a result of touring.

“Written by psychotherapists, performance coaches, vocal coaches, dieticians, psychologists, and sleep, sexual health, and addiction experts, this timely and important book provides practical guidance, resources, psycho-education, diagrams, illustrations, and vignettes from musicians and prominent touring personnel.”

Speaking about the upcoming book, Radiohead’s Selway said: “I wish this book had been around when I first started touring…It should be the first thing we all pack when we head out on the road” (via JamBase).

Set to publish in March this year, you can pre-order Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual here.

Philip Selway. Credit: Lorne Thomson/Redferns via Getty Images

Back in 2020, Charities warned that musicians and crew members across the UK are experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty brought on by coronavirus.


Eric Mtungwazi, Managing Director of the charity Music Support – who offer support for “individuals in any area of the UK music industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders”, spoke to NME about the issue previously. Over the last six months since the coronavirus lockdown, over 1,000 people have accessed their services and their free provision of the Thrive mental health support app.

“The numbers that we’ve seen in such a short time show that there is a real and concerning, emerging pattern of people reporting anxiety and depression,” Mtungwazi told NME. “Around 50 per cent of people are coming to us with anxiety issues and 35 per cent are dealing with depression at a moderate to severe level. There have been a number of people who have talked about suicide in recent months too, that’s at the most severe and acute end of the scale. We’re also getting increasing calls relating to alcohol and/or substance abuse.

“There are a significant number of cases where people are dealing with these things concurrently. It manifests itself in different ways.”

Liam Hennessy, Head Of Health And Welfare at the charity Help Musicians, told NME that one of their helplines saw a 25 per cent increase in people contacting them concerned about their mental health. Around 80 per cent of musicians and industry workers recently surveyed said that the current situation was having a significant negative impact on their wellbeing, especially with regards to financial problems.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult time for musicians over the last six months,” Hennessy told NME. “Many musicians are freelance, so with the closure of live events, income streams dried up almost completely and almost overnight. We’ve never been in a position like this before.

“We’re finding that there is an increase in the anxiety about what the future might look like. There’s still such a lot of uncertainty. We’re really in the midst of it at the moment.”

Speaking of the main reoccurring issues, Hennessy said: “There’s a really strong link between finances, debt and mental health. Anxiety and depression continue to be really prevalent within the music industry, but those are the key things we’ve been seeing lately.”

Other issues, such as the impact of Brexit on touring, are also thought to be contributing to the mental health struggles of many musicians. 

For help and advice on mental health:

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