The NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service, an online, on the phone and in person counselling service tailored to people making their way in live and recorded music in New Zealand, has marked a successful first year of operation.
The service was established in response to the results from the charity’s landmark NZ Music Community Wellbeing Survey in 2016, which found that kiwi music people were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide than the general population, more than three times as likely to indicate positively for problem alcohol use, and that 84% had experienced stress in the preceding 12 months that impacted on their ability to function day to day.
The service offers a tollfree 24/7 helpline in both NZ & Australia to kiwi music people and professional counselling from registered practitioners who all have a minimum of five years practice experience and a demonstrated record of counselling provision to music people or people from the creative industries.
This is made available on a fully funded basis by The NZ Music Foundation to those that make live or recorded music possible in New Zealand and who do not have the means to access support themselves.
In the period since the launch of the NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service in late September 2016, the service has:
- received more than 85 calls from over 40 kiwi music people on its dedicated tollfree 24/7 0508 MUSICHELP
- There has been an almost even split of male and female music people contacting the service
The service classifies the cases it addresses as Minor, Medium or Major.
- Many of the Minor cases involved caring conversations with a qualified triage counsellor lasting in excess of 60 minutes, addressing issues of deep concern to the caller
- In the Medium category, 21 people were referred on for over 60 in-depth personal counselling sessions from the NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service roster of counsellors
- 12% of enquiries came from people experiencing Major distress, where there was a need to immediately refer the case on to more acute clinical care such as Community Mental Health, General Practitioner or similar primary care provider.
- The most prevalent contributing factors have included extreme low mood, anxiety, industry stress and career issues followed by health, financial, family and addiction issues
- 28% of those contacting the service have already received a clinical diagnosis of a mental health/ mood disorder
Comments from users of the service have been overwhelmingly positive:
- “I had a wonderful session with my counsellor, she’s perfect for me and I got so much out of our first hour. THANK YOU SO MUCH!”
- “I’ve never spoken with anyone about this issue in my life before.”
- “Thank you so much, I think what you guys are doing is amazing.”
- “I would like to thank you immensely for the opportunity that was given to me here by the Foundation. The service assisted me in ways that I really can’t thank you enough for.”
- “It was so helpful to have someone who understands the specific pressures of the music industry. She said, “I’m familiar with your work and you’re doing a great job.” That meant so much.”
The NZ Music Foundation General Manager Peter Dickens says: “We’re very proud to have been able to provide vital support and counselling in this way over the last year. The service is still the only one of its kind accessible right now in the world and it’s exciting that music communities in other territories are now pushing for it to be available in their countries. Our research told us that setting up an accessible, affordable, tailored service was an essential step if we were to tackle the issue of mental health and wellbeing in kiwi music people. We intend to continue to reach out to all people making live and recorded music possible in NZ who need this service.”
Flying Nun Records Managing Director Ben Howe says: “The information the NZ Music Foundation has uncovered is important because it means we can start talking to and educating younger generations so they can be safeguarded for the future, something the charity is very proactive in doing. In addition to the conversation the survey has initiated and education around that, the NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service has done a fantastic job in supporting, assisting and advising where people in music have been in crisis or in difficult situations. It is an essential job and they have been very helpful to us.”