The Music Industry and Mental Health

Often There is Overlap


73% percent of independent musicians have battled stress, anxiety, and depression, according to a Record Union report. In an industry filled with glitz and glamor, some of the people we love to watch perform are struggling mentally and feel like they can’t speak out. However, some of our favorite artists have spoken up about their struggles to help not only themselves but their fans and communities as well, making audiences realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Adele, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga are just a handful of people who spoke out.

In an industry that constantly puts artists in the spotlight, it’s sadly no surprise that musicians struggle with their mental health. Artists are under constant pressure to be perfect; touring conditions can make it feel like they have no sense of home, and more often than not, there is a feeling of needing to one-up yourself with everything you put out.

To cope, musicians often turn to drugs or alcohol, making it challenging for them to not feel depressed without relying on substances. Because of this, many outside the industry believe that drugs and alcohol are part of musician culture. Because some artists have fan bases with more vulnerable audiences, the notion that drugs and alcohol are a cure for depression can have very lasting and dangerous impacts. 

Many artists, such as Mac Miller, truly suffered from depression and addiction. 

He passed away from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol. 

On the flip side, a handful of artists have faked their depression, Lil Peep, for example. After he passed away due to an overdose, his brother, Karl Ahr, came out to say that it was an accident. Ahr explained that Lil Peep would take the drugs and would claim to because it was profitable, that was the only reason he “acted depressed”. 

Some artists have taken a direct approach to the struggle with mental illness. Logic wrote a song with Alessia Cara and Khalid called “1-800-273-8255”, the suicide hotline number. The song tells the story of a person struggling with suicidal thoughts and then seeking professional help. The song currently has over 1 million streams on Spotify, and after it was performed at the 2018 Grammys, it tripled the number of calls to the hotline. Another example is “I’m Sorry (508)-507-2209” by Joyner Lucas. His song takes a more brutally realistic approach to showcase the truth of suicidal thoughts and depression. At the end of the video, he urges people to call the hotline if they are struggling with their mental health. His song currently has over 100,000 streams on Spotify.

It is important, famous or not, to get help if you are struggling with your mental health. These kinds of things can be very damaging to people and seeking help is a very critical tool for overcoming them. Nobody should have to suffer in silence and there are plenty of resources to help. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, but even just admitting you need help is a great place to start.