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Avoiding Burnout with Rachel Jepsen

In Focus

Avoiding burnout - why the music industry needs to take a different approach to mental health  

Rachel Jepson, musician and founder of the UK's first Centre for Mental Health in the Music Industry Last year we saw an increase in musicians speaking openly about their mental health, with acts such as Arlo Parks and Wet Leg expressing that, if they didn’t take time out, there would be a risk to their wellbeing. While it’s great that well-known musicians are being more vocal, not everyone in the music industry feels they can talk to their managers about potential burnout. Many are worried about a risk to momentum if they suddenly stop. Will fans still be invested if they take time away from social media, TV and radio appearances and live dates? Sadly, artists may also feel worried about admitting to their mental health struggles for fear of judgement or being perceived as unable to cope with a music career.   

In my role as a counsellor, specialising in issues facing those working in the sector, burnout is something that has certainly become more present. There is undoubtedly a side to the industry that doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, and wants to exploit artists who are seen as a commodity. 

I’ve had many clients share that if they’ve suggested taking time away, even for a couple of weeks, they are told that audiences will lose interest and another act will come along and push them into obscurity. And yet, despite knowing that they may face this sort of reaction, artists are increasingly recognising that their mental health comes first and that they will only be able to do their job with some rest and reflection. 

A change must take place within the music industry on a wider scale. It must adjust its thinking and wake up to the fact that everyone, no matter their role within the sector, must be listened to if they are struggling.  

This is why I am working hard to champion a code of practice where people within the music industry are educated on mental health and signposted to people that can help. This includes incredible organisations and charities such as Tonic Rider, which provides training on all aspects of the music industry and mental health, including my own certificate in Mental Health Awareness in the Music industry. Training and education are the first step in providing the tools and knowledge required to support each other. But it’s also important that we simply provide the space for people to be more open and feel safe in sharing their experiences.   

About Rachel Jepson 

Rachel Jepson is a musician and the founder of the UK’s first Centre for Mental Health in the Music industry – a dedicated and essential resource for all who are involved in the sector. It is a place for support and exploration around mental health in the music industry and raising awareness of what can be done to improve the industry’s provision for mental health.  

A BACP registered counsellor and psychotherapist, Rachel specialises in music industry-specific counselling for the issues faced by those in the sector and provides therapy, supervision and training to support the need of musicians and other industry professionals.  

She is a regular speaker at conferences and events, discussing the need for more mental health provision in the music industry. / 

Words by Rachel Jepson
Rachel Jepson
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