anxiety Artists and metal health music and mental health panic attack

Crying in the Dark – Music Entertainers and Mental Health

It’s a crisis! Like seriously and a topic many might overlook but the issue of mental depression and mental health is real among artists and needs to be addressed. In Jamaica or among Jamaicans mental health issues are only taken seriously when the illness is extreme and, stigmatized whenever persons display signs of it. Like any other profession with a high rate of success, working within the music industry can be stressful and very likely create mental health issues. Yes! While fans listen to music to relieve stress, the artists whose job is to create music that appeases their fans suffer from stress or stress-related issues.

As I stumbled across another social media post, by a popular Jamaican artist admitting to having to cope with mental health issues, this writer feels obliged to write about the subject in order to encourage other artists to speak up and get help. Mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of, first accept there is a problem then move toward getting it fixed. Acceptance is the first major step towards healing and support, as was given to both artists in response, opens a portal for other persons going through this ordeal to make a breakthrough in a society that has been judgemental more often than not Dr. Garth McDonald also known as dancehall/reggae artist Shaka Pow said, “Mental Health issues affect all sectors of society. The music industry no different, stress forms a major component of the profession for those who are successful and who trying to buss. There is also hereditary/family associated with mental illnesses.”

In May 2019, Billboard ran an article about a study that found 73% of independent artists struggle with mental health issues. However, the music industry is yet to address as the clock ticks.

Signs and Behavioural Patterns
The very mention of mental depression to some people is fearful. Many families are

afraid to speak about the illness if a member is affected. Some even disassociate themselves from loved ones. The fear of being judged, disgraced or condemned arise from cultural practices that involve harnessing traumatic experiences. The display of erratic behavior, mood swing, confusion, anxiety/panic attack, memory loss are symptoms of mental depression often overlooked or considered ignorant, bad-mind, envious, ill-mannered and the like but in most cases, people are oblivious to the signs when it’s a close friend or family suffering. 

In a 2017 article titled Artists Are Human And Mental Health Care is a Human Right by Katie Alice Greer for Cash Music, Greer recount her own struggles with mental illness and the need for artists to have an accessible, well developed mental healthcare system:-

Though I have lots of artist friends with whom I’ve shared vital mental health-related conversations, I don’t mean to suggest this talk happens in public or is free of discomfort. Most of us are not socialized to be immediately aware of these problems or have the communicative tools to readily articulate what’s happening in our heads. It involves a lot of patience (with ourselves and with others), and it involves a lot of diggingread more

There is hope for persons suffering from mental depression if caught early. Herbal Nutritionist popularly known as Congo who promotes healthy eating habits via natural foods and an electric diet said, “lack of nutrition, lack of important minerals that cause cells in the body to regenerate will cause a malfunction in the brain that subsequently leads to these problems.” 

Coping with Anxiety/Panic Attacks
While Congo remains adamant about a drastic change of diet that can significantly reduce symptoms of mental depression a Nonprofit Mental Health awareness website suggests tools and resources such as, “Grounding techniques”, as a way of dealing with symptoms of anxiety panic attack. 

The mental health issue is real among artists many of who seem unaware or in denial of their state of mind. Dr. Garth “Shaka Pow” McDonald suggests in this regard, “when recognized personally or by persons in one’s circle the aim should be to see a psychiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment without fear of privacy breaches.”

Written by Sophia McKay

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