- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Help Musicians UK launches helpline in response to mental health ‘crisis’

Charity Help Musicians UK is launching a new 24/7 mental health service, saying it has identified a “mental health crisis” in the industry.

The organisation has invested an initial £100,000 into its Music Minds Matter campaign, and is calling for industry figures and philanthropists to match this investment and collectively donate another £100,000, as a response to the recent death of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington.

An online fundraising page [1] has been set up for members of the public to contribute.

The money raised in the campaign will fund a new round-the-clock mental health helpline and service that will combine listening, advice and signposting with clinical, medical, therapeutic and welfare support for those who need it.

It will be available to musicians working across all genres, including in theatre.

If the additional £100,000 is raised, this will allow the mental health service to be sustainable beyond 2018, with ambitions to roll the service out to global partners in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Musicians including Rou Reynolds, lead singer of the band Enter Shikari, and Adam Ficek, a former drummer with the band Babyshambles, have lent their support to the campaign.

Reynolds said: “While creating and playing music has a wonderfully positive influence on mental health, it is not an all-encompassing elixir for the vast swathes of mental health problems that our society breeds.”

He added that the industry has a “dark history” with the loss of people to suicide.

Matthew Leone, bassist with band Madina Lake, said: “I’ve had the great fortune of spending time with Chester on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution [a music festival founded by the band in 2002]. He was a rare breed of immeasurable talent and equal humility.

“If a comprehensive, full-service mental health resource, like Music Minds Matter, had existed, perhaps Chester, his family and the world could have been spared this tragic loss.”

Richard Robinson, chief executive of Help Musicians UK, said the mental health situation in the music industry was now “too urgent to ignore”.

He added: “We need the music industry to step up, arm in arm with Help Musicians, and match our support pound for pound, so we are proud to launch the Music Minds Matter campaign.”