Musicians unite for World Mental Health Day: “Hope is always with us”

"Reach out if you need to, take time out if things gets too much. It’s about looking after each other and ourselves"

Musicians have united for World Mental Health Day, sharing messages of support and advice on where to get help if needed.

In the UK, artists including IDLES, The CharlatansTim Burgess, Nadine Shah and Everything Everything’s Jonathan Higgs have been sharing messages on social media of the importance of speaking openly about mental health issues and in seeking help when needed.

IDLES wrote on Twitter this morning (October 10): “1 in 15 people in the UK will attempt suicide. Through direct conversations about suicide, we can break the stigma and save lives.”

Burgess said: “This year has been so demanding for all of us. Sometimes it’s difficult to see anything beyond the dark clouds. But hope is always with us. Reach out if you need to, take time out if things gets too much. It’s about looking after each other and ourselves #WorldMentalHealthDay.”

Whilst Higgs added: “Mine has never been worse. I get to screech about my feelings on a stage but this is NOT the way to deal with your problems. Don’t suffer in silence folks, seek help, talk, don’t try to hide it – get wise enough to know yourself. Be the audience for others. #WorldMentalHealthDay.”

Shah, meanwhile, urged fans to “speak out if you’re suffering.”

Meanwhile, charities have 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, while assuring those in the music industry that help and support is available.

For World Mental Health Day, NME spoke to a number of organisations about the emotional and psychological impact of gigs being unable to go ahead on the crew members and artists who make them possible.

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”, told NME that 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.”

The charity set up by the family of the late Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison have today thanked the many who have raised money for them so far, while also encouraging others to support youth mental health at this vital time.

Scott Hutchison passed away in May 2018 after taking his own life and years of battling depression. In his memory, his family set up the Tiny Changes charity to fund and find inventive ideas of how to improve mental health services for young people.

Now Tiny Changes, who marked their one year anniversary as a charity back in May, are ploughing ahead to do more good work in the face of challenging times – with the help of some very valuable supporters.

“This year has been a difficult one for so many around the world, yet we feel constantly inspired by charities and individuals closer to home who are trying to make tiny changes where they can,” a spokesperson told NME.

“Over the past six months, we’ve put in to action our emergency COVID-19 fund, assisting other children and young people’s charities in Scotland, and highlighted its importance during our Tiny Gigs event which featured Frank Turner, Cloth, Tim Burgess and more. We feel that now more than ever we need to be actively supporting those young people who have felt isolated, anxious and alone over recent months.”