Mental Health and Wellbeing for Musicians

Our Mental Health Advisors give us essential advice on how new musicians can look after themselves...


Mental health has never been more important for the music industry. 

With increasing numbers of high profile artists coming out and discussing wellbeing, any past stigmas around sharing how you feel are being left behind in favour of a new spirit of openness and support 

Working in the music industry certainly comes with particular pressures and welfare is something valued at ICMP.

With this in mind, we've caught up with ICMP's Mental Health Advisors as part of our content around Mental Health Awareness Week 2024.

Here, you can find out more about the support available at ICMP and why wellbeing is so important to musicians and artists... 

What kind of support is on offer to our students? And what form can this take?

We have a dedicated and experienced team of disability and mental health advisers who have extensive experience working with students with these issues in higher education.

We aim to offer a safe non-judgmental space for students. This will enable them to come and talk about any challenges impacting their student experience and overall wellbeing." 

Furthermore, we can signpost students to specialist organisations outside the university or refer students to our own counselling service.

We also look at some of the pragmatic issues of how certain conditions affect learning and academic performance. We can devise a support plan based on medical evidence which can make certain staff of the students’ choice aware of the condition. This can also form the basis of making certain academic adjustments to improve the overall student experience to help you make the most of your time at ICMP.

The ICMP Disability and Wellbeing team can also provide a range of services to students. These include:

•carrying out dyslexia screenings

•signposting SPLD Diagnostic Assessment at reduced rates

•facilitating applications for Disabled Students Allowance

•facilitating disability support within ICMP

We also have the Togetherall, a safe space online for when you are feeling down or struggling with your mental health and wellbeing. It's a service designed to help you feel better and take control.  Togetherall is safe, totally anonymous and there are trained counsellors online to support you 24/7.

What can a Mental Health Adviser offer?

They can provide different forms of support including:

  • Emotional and practical support and advice on any concern a student may have about their mental health at any point in their studies
  • Advice if you or a student is concerned about the mental health of another student
  • Working with the Disability Advisers, looking at any practical support requirements a student may need as a result of their mental health issues, such as extra time for exams.
  • Liaison with, or referral to other ICMP functions or external agencies, such as NHS services or third-party organizations.
  • Organisation of Mental Wellbeing Campaigns and events.
  • Advice and training to teaching and support staff within ICMP.

How can students prioritise self-care? 

Everyone's definition of self-care is different; there is no way to say exactly what is self-care. The underlying rule is that it brings that it brings you joy in the long run.

Self-care is to help cope with the daily stressors. It may not take the strong emotions away, however it can provide you with some strength to cope with these." 

Some general self-care ideas;

  • Healthy eating and regular eating patterns
  • Having a good sleeping pattern and routine
  • Meditating 
  • Exercise
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Social interaction
  • Creativity - making own music, art making, crafts
  • Affirmations - positive or neutral 
  • Spending time in nature.

Help Musicians UK offers regular sessions on self-care. These sessions are led by a counsellor and facilitate you to explore the causes and effects of challenges you may face and support you finding tools to support yourself. 

Whatever it is that is troubling you, you deserve to be listened to and supported. Registering with a doctor (a GP, or general practitioner) is very important to ensure you can access the right health care when you need it. GPs are based in surgeries (also called practices) and they will be your first point of contact for most physical and mental health concerns. They can treat many conditions and give health advice as well as referring you to other NHS services. 

How can students get in touch with you and the wellbeing team?

For further information on our services and booking an appointment with an advisor please email us at

You will be asked to fill out an appointment request form. If you can return this completed, then we will contact you and arrange an appointment. 

What is your essential advice to our students when it comes to mental health? Are there any top tips that you would give?

Don’t wait until small problems become impossibly large. It is always best to seek support as early as possible." 

Register with your GP as soon as possible as they can manage common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. They can also provide medical evidence for academic adjustments we may be able to offer.

The first few weeks of a term can be overwhelming and some students can experience a wide range of issues. These can range from homesickness, a sense of anti- climax and adjusting to a period of change with new academic material and changing cities or even countries. My advice would be: 

  • Talk to someone - others may feel the same
  • call home but also get involved here
  • be realistic about what to expect
  • balance work and leisure
  • take time to adjust
  • you don't have to get everything right straight away       
  • regularly switch off
  • schedule some kind of physical activity
  • prioritise good self-care
  • sleep, diet, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine

Mental health is very much on the agenda at the moment for the music industry. Why has it become such a hot topic?

Music and mental health are intrinsically linked and aspects of mental illness have influenced some great pieces of music over the years. Therefore it cannot be ignored and the stigma associated with mental health within the industry, I hope is starting to be confined to the pages of history.

I feel some recent high profile artists have spoken out about their personal battles with mental illness in a candid and honest way without glossing over the hard truths and consequences of poor mental health." 

Demi Levato and Lady Gaga are both good examples. I think it’s a positive shift in the right direction and hope a direct consequence of this would be for senior figures within the industry to place as much empathises on mental health and overall wellbeing of their artists as they do on record sales and downloads. 

Visit the Disability and Wellbeing page to find out more.

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by Jim Ottewill
May 9, 2024
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