Executive Summary

  • 1352 people took part in this online survey in July 2016. 85% said they are now or have been Songwriters, Composers and Performers, 68% Production or Backroom personnel, and 38% are or have worked in Corporate, Retail or Administration roles.
  • Half of all respondents on average spent less than 20 hours a week working in the music environment. The figure for Songwriters, Composers and Performers was 57%. Half of all respondents earn less than $25,000 from their work in music annually. In terms of paid music work, Songwriters, Composers and Performers have the highest percentage of their number represented in the lowest earning bracket (62% of Songwriters, Composers and Performers).
  • A significant proportion of those participating in the study indicated that they don’t get enough sleep (58%), have disrupted sleep (56%) and experience insomnia (37%).
  • Only 16% of respondents in this survey report undertaking 5 or more 30 minute sessions of planned exercise weekly and 25% report including fruits or vegetables in 2 or fewer meals and snacks daily, considerably below government health guidelines.
  • With regard to disability, 45% indicated that they have an impairment that affects their ability to carry out day-to-day activities without assistance, aids or medication.
  • Over half of both men (66%) and women (51%) who participated show a positive indication of problem drinking. This is markedly higher compared to national figures where 25% of men and 11% of women positively indicate for problem drinking.
  • 41% of respondents had used drugs for non-medicinal purposes in the last 12 months compared to 16.6% in the general population. 14% of respondents report using drugs for non-medicinal purposes on a weekly basis.
  • Almost 4 in 10 participants scored positive for suicide ideation ever (39%), while 18% scored positive for suicide ideation in the past 12 months. These figures are high compared to the general population where the incidence of lifetime suicide ideation is at 15.7%, and ideation within the last 12 months is at 3.2%.
  • Participants reported attempting suicide at more than twice the incidence of the general population. Responses tracked consistently around 10% when analysed by gender and industry involvement. All analyses returned figures in excess of the national incidence of 4.5%.
  • The conversion rate between having a suicidal thought at some point ever in the past and having a similar thought within the past 12 months is high at over 50 percent. Of the 140 people that reported making plans and preparations to commit suicide, 100 said they had gone on to make a suicide attempt.
  • Over a third report having been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Depression and anxiety were the most mentioned (85% and 57% respectively). Both figures significantly eclipse the reported incidence rate in the general population for these conditions of 17.4%.
  • A high proportion report they have suffered from emotional distress/difficulty at a level that has impacted on their ability to carry out everyday activities (84%).
  • The majority of respondents indicated that on the whole, they didn’t know where to look for support (40%), but many did feel it would be ‘easy’ to find support outside (70%) the music community. However, the reverse seems to be the case when they consider if they could find it within the music community.
  • While a narrow majority believe that professional support is accessible, respondents do not believe that support for people working in music is tailored, affordable or in good supply.
  • The results indicate that a fundamental barrier to reaching out for help or support for mental health issues is feeling too embarrassed to admit they need help (80%). This is compounded by a lack of knowledge around where to access support (63%), a worry over costs (63%) and a concern that admitting to a mental health issue would have a negative impact on future employment (62%).
  • The percentage of respondents who indicated they would be likely to access a free support line, provided by qualified professionals and tailored to people in the music environment was consistent at around 65% across the three industry sectors.

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