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MusiCares' Health & Human Services Team's Holistic Approach To Wellness
We're halfway through August, which means MusiCares has been busy celebrating National Wellness Month with programming, playlists, and more! Merriam Webster defines wellness as "the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal." Most people may associate this definition of wellness with the state of one's physical health, which can be impacted by injury or disease. But for MusiCares, "good health" also includes one's mental health—their emotional and psychological state—which can be impacted by financial pressures, addiction issues, and so much more.
Promoting wellness within the music community is an essential component of the MusiCares' mission: to help the humans behind the music, because music gives so much to the world. According to Johns Hopkins University, music has a positive impact on wellness: "Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory." In other words, music keeps us healthy.
But for those who spend their lives bringing that music into the world, practicing wellness is often difficult. A life in music can make prioritizing health a challenge.
Touring artists, side musicians, and crew face erratic sleep schedules and constant time zone changes, along with close quarters where germs can spread quickly and easily. Freelancing producers, songwriters, and engineers aren't afforded the luxuries that come with a regular 9 to 5, including affordable health insurance and income stability. This can lead to financial stress over things like high medical bills or uncertainty of being able to pay next month's rent.
And for all creative individuals in general, the risks of substance abuse and mental health crises are substantially higher. A 2019 study by UNSW Sydney found that social, cultural and workplace pressures lead to higher rates of substance abuse. One study found that 45% of musicians in the UK struggled with addiction. Musicians are also more vulnerable to mental health challenges. A 2018 study from the Music Industry Research Association found that 50 percent of musicians reported battling symptoms of depression, compared with less than 25 percent of the general adult population.
Music professionals face many roadblocks in their pursuit of wellness. To address these obstacles, MusiCares has created three teams of licensed professionals—and a variety of services—to help remove the roadblocks to wellness within the music community.
Health Services Team
The Health Services Team at MusiCares specializes in supporting the physical health of the music community. Physical health is crucial to wellness, and without access to affordable healthcare, music professionals often struggle to care for their physical well-being. Services of our Health Team include:
- Preventative care, such as free dental clinics, medical clinics and hearing clinics that take place year-round, throughout the U.S. At these clinics, music professionals can receive physical check-ups, dental cleanings, or custom-made earplugs at no cost.
- Financial assistance during medical crises, such as monetary support to help with high medical bills, medications, or costly dental procedures.
- Support and referrals for low-cost health insurance options.
- Virtual and in-person programming on health issues concerning the music community, including vocal workshops, physical therapy workshops, and more.
Human Services Team
A career in music can often cause income instability. A 2020 survey facilitated by MusiCares found that 51% of respondents had low to very low levels of confidence in being able to afford basic living expenses. The stress over rent and other bills can take a toll on mental health, which is why MusiCares created the Human Services Team. The team provides:
- Monetary support for basic living expenses including rent, utilities, car payments, insurance premiums and more in times of hardship.
- Virtual and in-person programming providing information on affordable housing, career development, legal issues and senior services.
- Relief grants in times of natural disasters, including wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and more.
- Financial support for musical equipment replacement in instances of theft or fire.
Mental Health & Addiction Recovery Services Team
The Mental Health & Addiction Recovery Services Team specializes in the substance abuse and mental health challenges faced by the music community. It's nearly impossible to practice good health when struggling with a mental health crisis or substance abuse problem. The MH&A Team provides the following:
- Support, referrals, and financial aid for mental health treatment including therapy (with virtual options for those who tour), psychiatric care, and coaching.
- Support, referrals, and financial aid for addiction treatment including inpatient rehab, outpatient care, and sober living.
- Free, weekly support groups centered around addiction recovery and emotional support.
- Virtual and in-person programming with music industry professionals addressing mental health and addiction recovery in the music community.
Good physical health is a key component of practicing wellness, but MusiCares knows practicing wellness extends far beyond that. That's why MusiCares has set up three distinct teams to address all components of wellness and eliminate all obstacles preventing the music community from maintaining their well-being. Music helps to keep us healthy—we must protect the individuals behind the music and keep them healthy, too.
For more information on MusiCares services or to apply for assistance, visit www.musicares.org