Music Support – Addiction Charity for the Music Industry
‘MUSIC SUPPORT’ – Addiction Charity for the Music Industry.
Music Support is a new charity that has been set up to provide help and support for anyone in the UK music industry suffering from alcoholism, addiction, emotional and mental health issues.
‘Anyone’ means anyone, not just artists, but road crew and touring personnel, DJ’s, producers, promoters, agency personnel, independent promotions and public relations personnel, label personnel, travel agents, caterers, and so on.
The founders of the charity know all too well from their personal experiences that the industry is a breeding ground for all of these conditions and more, due to the lifestyle demands in many areas, the enabling environments, the camouflage provided by peers and colleagues, and the high levels of tolerance that exists within.
Hailing from different areas of the industry – artists, tour managers, record labels, and management, the founders are all in recovery themselves. They had all been thinking of and discussing the concept of Music Support for some time, but had never got round to making it a reality. They came together through a strong and like-minded passion to provide help to those who need it the most.
“We were all aware of the enormous need for a service like this. Everyone seems to know at least on person in the industry who has either died as a result of their addiction or committed suicide as a result of mental health issues” says co-founder Matt Thomas. “One day we realized that rather than talking about it, we should be actively doing something about it, because if we didn’t do it no-one else would. And it’s a life or death situation for too many people. So we kind of had to do it.”
Music Support offers 3 levels of help.
- An 0800 helpline for anyone who needs a chat. All responders are from, or have previously worked in the music industry and are all in recovery. Callers will be referred to the volunteer on duty who has the most similar professional or personal experience to the caller. From here they may be signposted to 12 Step fellowships GP’s or to levels 2 and 3 below, but the experience so far is that many callers need no more than a chat and an understanding person at the other end of the phone.
- Therapy and counselling – Music Support is building a database of volunteer therapists and counsellors all over the country. Callers can be matched with someone appropriate to their needs for sessions via phone, skype or face to face sessions.
- Assessment and treatment – callers with problems of a more serious nature can undergo a Clinical assessment via co-founder and Clinical Director Johan Sorensen and a course of appropriate treatment will be suggested, and put in place if possible. In this case Music Support will assign a case manager to organize the logistics and accompany the individual to treatment if necessary. If the clients do not have sufficient funds Music Support can arrange for a part, or full bursary.
Music Support’s reach in the music industry is far and wide, and they intend to use all their connections to spread awareness of their service. As well as the existing service, plans for 2017 already include safe rooms at venues and festivals, and a benefit concert.
Their mission is also to help lift the still all too prevalent stigmas surrounding addiction and mental health issues in particular.
Feedback from the industry has been unanimously positive. On their website, approval from the likes of Coldplay and Squeeze is highly visible, along with a number of endorsements from companies and people including Robbie Williams’ manager the late David Einthoven, and leading industry audio provider SSE. Music Support has been appointed as official charity of one of the biggest industry travel agents for 2017.
“It’s going really well, and we’ve already helped a lot of people” says Thomas. “but we’re not setting ourselves up as the saviors of the industry or anything like that. We’re just a bunch of recovering drunks and addicts, some of us with experience of mental health issues, trying to help other people like us. Of which there are way too many.”
The relationship between personal and professional is absolutely crucial. The founders from the industry offer their personal experience but then let go when the professionals need to take over.
It’s this combination of empathy and clinical that makes Music Support so special and why since their launch in 2016, they have already begun to make an impact.
For more info –
07968 626 987
HELPLINE: 0800 030 678940