Photo: Jerritt Clark
MusiCares Hosts Mental Health Panel At A3C Virtual Conference 2021, Featuring Ayanis, Shanti Das, Adrienne Williams, & Dan McCartney
On October 22, MusiCares hosted a mental health panel at A3C's 2021 virtual conference aimed towards empowering artists and other music industry professionals to prioritize mental health.
Moderated by MusiCares support group leader Adrienne Williams, the panel featured a diverse trio of industry insiders: marketing executive turned mental health philanthropist Shanti Das, Atlantic Records R&B artist Ayanis and Universal Talent Agency agent Dan McCartney. The trio shed insight into the good and bad of the industry’s impact on the mental health of its professionals.
"I'm really passionate about this work because I contemplated taking my own life. I counted up all the pills in my cabinet in 2015 and almost took my own life," Das shares. "I do this work now because I don't want anyone else to think suicide is an option."
Other panel topics ranged from how the music industry is handling mental health in recent times to how mental health issues can impact an artist's creative process.
"It's not enough sometimes to just put it in a song," Ayanis explains. "You can't overkill. You can't mask everything. It gets to a point where you have to let it out."
The sentiment of allowing others to help was persistent throughout the panel, and McCartney, the founder of the mental health non-profit The Continuance Foundation, took things a step further by challenging his peers to serve as the mental health outlet that the artists they represent may need.
"As an agent, if a musician comes to me and says 'Hey, I'm leaving for tour. I need to find a rehearsal space,' these are things that the agent can deal with," McCartney says. "We should be opening the door for that same conversation about mental health."