Mental ill-health has become so common these days and Africans are still very ignorant about this. And it’s partly because of the way we were raised! Talking to a therapist about your mental demons has never been a thing for most Africans dealing with mental ill-health.
I’m reminded that I’m weak and too emotional by my friends every time I try to make them aware of the mental health-related issue I deal with daily. I had to learn to keep it all inside while the world expects me to keep a smile!
But I won’t make this post about me today. So beginning today I make it my mission to sensitize Cameroon musicians on the various issues regarding mental ill-health through Odiopeople. I am no expert so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
No one is exempted from mental ill-health problems
Today’s music industry is often led by musicians who suffer from one or more mental ill-health problems. Even those working behind the scenes have to deal with this, too.
A 2016 study commissioned by Help Musicians found that musicians suffer from anxiety and depression in huge numbers, regardless of genre. According to the report, 71.1% of all respondents admitted to having suffered panic attacks and high levels of depression, while 68.5% said they had suffered from depression.
The preliminary report was careful to note that, while music was found to have therapeutic benefits, “working in or having ambitions to work in the music industry might indeed be making musicians sick.”
Some musicians suffer from depression and addiction because they have no one to discuss their problems with or any way to escape them besides addictions to drugs and alcohol. This makes them even more depressed since they are constantly under stress without any way to escape it.
The music industry has a mental ill-health problem.
In the United States, it’s estimated that over 1 million people suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Also, 2 million people struggle with substance abuse problems.
And there are many more musicians who have died as a result of suicide or drug overdose. Some of them died even before they made it into the spotlight!
This is why we need to be aware of how our favourite artists are doing as far as their mental health is concerned.
Some artists might benefit from professional counselling; others may benefit from talking about their struggles on an online website like this.
But why is mental ill health so common among musicians?
Musicians are very emotionally sensitive by nature. This helps them channel these emotions into songs to give their audience the best emotional support possible. They also experience the world in a unique.
But here are a few reasons I can think of:
Musicians are very detached from society:
Musicians hardly have friends outside of their industry, or family that understand what they do exactly.
They spend countless hours honing their craft and performing while their friends are out having a good time. They can’t socialize or make strong bonds with people because of their irregular and unstable work hours. This makes them feel very alienated, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
Musicians have a lack of sleep and stability in their lives:
Musicians often work long hours and are on the road for months at a time. They also travel across towns or countries multiple times every year. Because of this, musicians frequently feel like they need more caffeine or alcohol to stay awake during their performances or later on in the day.
Musicians are no exception to drug addiction
Once addicted to a substance, it is difficult for them to quit using it. They usually know better than anyone else how destructive substances can be over time if used regularly. Yet they do it anyway!
Musicians have no support group:
Musicians are more prone to depression than the general population, due to the stress they face while working. They are constantly working long hours under stressful conditions. This leaves them no time to socialize or get enough sleep or mental sunshine.
Most musicians handle rejection and disappointment differently than regular people. And could benefit a lot from having a support group that’s always there to help them get a grip on themselves.
The Cameroon music industry can be difficult for musicians to escape, especially when considering the heavy mental ill-health problems and addiction that come along with this career choice.
Cameroonian musicians need more support, so they don’t have to face these problems alone or suffer in silence. Fans should care more about their music creators rather than drive them to self-destruction!
There is no shame in speaking about your mental ill-health. Talking about it doesn’t make you weak, but rather proves that you are brave enough to admit that there is something wrong and seek help.
Keep fighting for what you want out of life. Learn to love yourself and enjoy every moment you get in front of you.
Thank you for reading.
I’m looking forward to talking to you again next week.
So what do you think about this post?
Any ideas to help me give you more value on this topic next time?
Let me know in the comment section below.