Pilot project will help Nova Scotia musicians entry psychological well being care

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Musician Hayley Ryerson was functioning on a cruise ship in 2019 where by portion of the compensation arrangement involved a weekly go to to the ship’s captain to get $200 in hard cash for journey expenditures.

It was on these visits the Bear River, N.S., fiddler and violinist reported she heard recurring bigoted opinions from the captain.

“And that was, like, a single of the additional expert gigs that I had,” she said.

She explained some of her other gig encounters have involved currently being tapped on the butt and detailing why she really should be compensated for her get the job done.

“I never see other persons heading to function and obtaining to make clear to their manager why they ought to be paid out for busing tables all working day,” reported Ryerson. “And it tends to make me seriously offended.”

Musician Jessie Brown suggests she’s found the tunes business offering additional mental wellbeing supports for musicians. (Jessie Brown)

A study done by the East Coast New music Affiliation in 2018 found associates noted having psychological well being challenges at charges increased than Canadians. They also faced obstacles in accessing psychological wellness care and lots of described they lived underneath the poverty line.

This was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live shows, a vital supply of revenue for musicians.

To address the psychological well being difficulties musicians deal with, the East Coast Songs Association is providing support in partnership with the Psychological Health and fitness Basis of Nova Scotia. The program is referred to as Sound Minds.

Ryerson welcomes this.

“I consider it really is really significant to open up up these areas within our tunes group to start out chatting about these problems that we are all touching, we are all working with, but for some rationale not chatting about,” she reported.

Jessie Brown, winner of the 2018 ECMA Rock Recording of the Yr for her album Holding Appearances, claims the guidance is desired.


“Several years ago, just before these variety of applications ended up released, at a great deal of the conferences and the business form of gatherings, you had been instructed to truly feel lucky that you ended up there … we failed to have access to something and so a lot of periods it was substances or leaning on each other or burning out,” she reported.

Errin Williams is a medical social employee who operates the Seem Minds application. For musicians in search of psychological health assistance, she helps link them with the ideal programming whether which is in the community or a counselling session with her.

How to get assistance

The first step for musicians from Nova Scotia to get assistance from Sound Minds is to send out an electronic mail to [email protected], which is reviewed by Williams.

“When we look at the social determinants of health, there are a handful of that communicate incredibly a lot to persons who function in the audio field,” she mentioned.

These incorporate the precarious nature of the work and the isolation musicians can expertise by becoming on the street for their get the job done and missing out on vital everyday living occasions, this sort of as weddings, funerals and birthdays.

“Sometimes there can be a disconnect from friends and loved ones,” reported Williams.


Though Audio Minds is a pilot software, she stated the hope is it turns into long-lasting.

She reported close to 90 musicians have applied the program’s a single-on-one counselling. Some have informed her they had been having suicidal views and the programming saved their lives.

A woman is shown onstage at an outdoor music festival.
Errin Williams is a scientific social worker who operates the Seem Minds method. She’s proven in an undated photo from the Harmony Bazaar Festival of Girls & Music in Lockeport, N.S. She’s one of its founders. (Submitted by Errin Williams)

Brown utilized the counselling in 2021.

“Acquiring accessibility to weekly treatment and not stressing about the personal debt that it inevitably would place me into is a great emotion and I know a lot of artists agree,” she stated.

Support groups

Sound Minds also involves assist teams for females in the music industry and another for people today dwelling with addictions or who are worried about their material use.

Ryerson facilitates the females in the audio industry team, which meets on line. She reported members uncover comfort and ease in knowing they’re not alone with the difficulties they experience.

“We can experience seen and recognized,” reported Ryerson.

Any one having difficulties with psychological overall health can call 911 in an emergency, or the province’s toll-cost-free mental health crisis line at 1-888-429-8167, which is available 24 hours, 7 times a week. To self-refer to a Community Mental Health and Addictions clinic, call 1-855-922-1122 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. AT on weekdays.

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