The music industry has benefitted from research studies into the mental and physical health of industry workers. A 2016 study commissioned by Entertainment Assist revealed exponentially high rates of mental health problems within the industry. Alarmingly it cited an elevated risk to those working in live production, however no research has been undertaken to identify the causes and extent of the problem.
Statistics collected by CrewCare and others involved in the industry have highlighted staggering figures that Australian road crew members have a suicide rate that is 4-5 times the national average. This rate of suicide internationally is nowhere near as high. CrewCare attributes this high rate of suicide to a variety of factors and reasons including:
- Physical incapacity
- Drug or alcohol dependency
- A low standard of living
- Mental illness
- Decreased demand for occupation
- Changes in the workplace
The older generation of crew began their careers in the music industry in their late teens to earlier twenties, in a time where there were no supportive government policies were implemented to enforce a high standard of occupational health and safety. During this time, they worked in stressful conditions which pushed their bodies to physical and mental breaking point. As a result, many crew suffered significant medical issues in the following years including:-
- Muscular-skeletal problems
- Multiple surgeries
- The existence with chronic pain
- Early rate of mortality due to overall health neglect
- A lack thereof a means, the funding or information provision for seeking medical attention for both physical and mental health
More than often, in these situations, it has to be identified that the work and work environment has become linked to the identity of self and an intrinsic factor within the life of a Roadie. A reduction in work can present a significant alteration in the livelihood of individuals, in both financial and mental capacity, including most importantly on an identity level. Whilst there are benefits to living a lifestyle on the road, sudden removal from this environment has the potential to leave an individual confused, lost, lonely, with no sense of belonging and a lack of meaningful purpose. Reasons can include:
- Demand for that profession
- Changing technologies
- An artist/s decides to retire or no longer continue to work
It is also noted that the broader population is not aware of a crew members role, the pressures, stresses or health impacts that are regularly affecting this group and have been for many years.
The study commissioned by Entertainment Assist and conducted by Victoria University in October 2016, Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry, revealed exponentially high rates of mental health problems within the music industry.
The findings presented a concerning picture about the health and wellbeing for all those working in the Australian Entertainment Industry.
- Suicide attempts for Australian Entertainment Industry workers are more than double that of the general population.
- The levels of moderate to severe anxiety symptoms are 10 times higher than in the general population.
- The levels of depression symptoms are five times higher than in the general population.
- In the last twelve months, Australian Entertainment Industry Workers experienced suicide ideation 5-7 times more than the general population and 2-3 times more over a lifetime.
- In the last twelve months, Road Crew members experienced suicide ideation almost 9 times more than the general population.
- Rates of suicide ideation, planning, and attempts are astonishingly high and indicate a need for early intervention programs tailored to the industry.
Whilst the studies and anecdotal evidence paint an appalling picture for the entertainment industry and have alluded to the fact live production crew are often far more at risk; no research has ever been conducted explicitly targeting the health and mental wellbeing of the live roduction crew, or the reasons for the alarming evidence for these statistics.
CrewCare is committed to securing funding for and establishing research specific to crew needs. CrewCare believes that it is vital such research is conducted to highlight causal factors that are primary contributors to impacting crew health and wellbeing. These factors can assist in accurately identifying causal outcomes and provide convincing and compelling arguments to tackle the issues presented. The information and research conducted will also inform the programs CrewCare will ultimately offer, ensuring the organisation remains relevant and up-to-date with the latest statistics specific to crew working within the live music industry. CrewCare will achieve this by:
- Campaigning industry sectors for funding.
- Looking to the Federal and State Governments and applying for research grants.
- Working with various professionals and universities to conduct research and help in obtaining grants.
- Approaching universities, TAFE's and institutes that provide music faculties and/or training courses, making them aware of CrewCare and how together we can work to each other’s benefit.