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Brass on the Mind

New Report Highlights the Current State of Mental Health in Brass Bands

By modefor, Jul 12 2019 01:34PM

On Saturday 20th July, Mode for's... Tabby, will present the findings of a new report into the current state of mental health in brass bands at the esteemed Brass International Festival in Durham.

The report, published by Mode for… is based on a survey instigated by Tabby earlier this year which was designed to give an overview of the effect that being in brass bands can have on mental health.

Tabby explained: “There is no doubt and plenty of evidence which shows that music and making music in groups can be incredibly good for wellbeing, however, with the statistics according to the charity ‘Mind’ that 1 in 4 adults are suffering from mental health issues and based on my own personal experiences of mental health I wanted to look further into the direct connection that playing in brass bands has on mental health.”

“In 2016, Help Musicians UK, the leading independent charity for musicians in the UK, commissioned Sally Anne Gross and Dr. George Musgrave, MusicTank / University of Westminster to conduct a study into the mental health issues faced by musicians and the wider music industry as part of its MAD (Music and Depression) campaign. Whilst this covered a wide demographic of 2211 musicians it did not specifically focus on the medium of brass bands. That survey found that musicians may be up to three times more likely to suffer from depression compared to the general public.”

“The intention of this survey was to see if musicians specifically in the brass band movement suffered the same mental health issues as musicians in the wider music industry and to see if the statistics correlated, with a view to implementing necessary information, support and mental health provisions into the brass band movement,” confirmed Tabby.

“The findings did marry up and it is evident that due to the competitive and volatile environment of the brass band movement, many brass band musicians are suffering from mental ill health. Now, with this evidence, I want to research further and more importantly develop more information and support for musicians within the brass band movement. Recently I trained as a mental health first aider and I am keen to spread that knowledge and awareness of mental health issues so they are commonplace in bandrooms. There is a high percentage of brass band musicians suffering from nerves, anxiety, panic attacks and depression but of our survey sample of 328 respondents, only 1.5% of the bands they are in membership of have any kind of mental health provision. Mental health is more important than physical health in many ways and we need greater awareness to support each other and, ultimately, look after our brass band musicians so we can keep the brass band movement strong.”

“It has always been and still is awkward to talk about mental health, but these are awkward conversations I am not afraid to start and share my experiences to help other people, which is why mental health, with a focus on musicians and brass bands is becoming the focal point and priority for myself and everything we do at Mode for…”

The presentation on this report, when Tabby will be joined by other speakers to discuss wellbeing for brass musicians, forms part of the festival’s Healthy Brass Day at 4pm on Saturday 20th July at Elvet Riverside, Durham University.

To read the full report and report summary, visit www.modefor.co.uk

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Focussing on all things mental health in the brass band movement.