Music can have a massive impact on our mental state. Like many people, I keep playlists of music for specific purposes: music that helps me focus when I write, music that lets me get into character for Dungeons & Dragons sessions, music for when I want to relax, and music for when I need an energy boost. There’s another, very particular way music can help our moods, too: it can ground us, as this video from VICE illustrates.
In it, Ryan Bassil, associate editor of Noisey, VICE’s music site, talks about his history with anxiety and the ways he’s learned to cope. Ambient music is a big part of what helps him work through moments of panic, and he explains how musicians like Grouper and Brian Eno have changed his approach to dealing with anxiety.
Noisey is currently sharing a slate of fantastic articles about music and mental health to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Noisey’s editors kicked the week off by discussing their reasons for highlighting mental health issues in the music industry:
According to a survey by Help Musicians UK, over 60% of musicians suffer from depression or other psychological problems at some point. Three in four experience performance anxiety, and loneliness or separation from family and friends. Worse still, less than half of the musicians who took the survey had thought to seek professional help.
Over the years, it has almost become routine for us to see artists struggle in broad daylight with the pressures of their lifestyle. Too often, these struggles are mishandled. It’s become colloquial to hear musicians labelled “tortured geniuses”; their mental health problems fetishised and romanticised as some sort of magical well from which their art springs. Others are cast as having a “meltdown”. For many, their plight is simply ignored, until something so serious happens it can’t be ignored anymore.
The articles include personal stories of how music has saved lives, profiles of working musicians who live with mental health issues, and discussions of some of the big issues facing the industry. If you’re into creating or consuming music, they’re well worth a look.