Hustle culture is over-glorified, especially in the U.S. Not only do today’s creators feel constant pressure to produce new content all the time, but they’re also working in industries that can be ultra competitive — and even ruthless. Hence the age-old term “starving artist.”
At any given time, you could buckle under the pressure of various stressors: The fear of not “making it” in your industry. The instability of a fluctuating income. The toxic combination of feeling overworked and suffering from imposter syndrome.
One study found that 73% of musicians experienced mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and/or depression related to their work. This type of data reveals in big bold letters that mental health is a common struggle among all creators.
At Soundstripe, we want to be part of the effort to spread mental health awareness and de-stigmatize the struggles that many of us deal with on a daily basis.
In this post, we’ll be sharing mental health resources that can help anyone better cope with the pressures of being a creator. To show further support, we’re also donating $5,000 to MusiCares (more on that organization later).
Before jumping right into the resources, let’s first acknowledge the portrayal of mental health in media — especially film — and the need for positive change in all creative industries.
Undoing the damage: Misrepresentations of mental illness in films
The stigma surrounding mental health has always existed, but it’s been worsened in many ways by misrepresentation of mental illness in films. In the horror genre especially, characters with mental health issues or disorders are often portrayed as a danger to society.
Take films like Psycho (1960) and Split (2016), for example. Both films portray main characters with dissociative identity disorder as violent, unpredictable, and murderous. This disorder is used as a dramatic plot point — not an accurate representation of what the disorder actually is.
When people watch films that demonize mental health disorders, they don’t have all of the facts to know that what they see on the screen isn’t real. Their perception of mental health is warped to the point that some viewers may even believe anyone with a diagnosis is dangerous like the characters in films.
This triggers a cycle of shame and secrecy where people are afraid to disclose their diagnosis or seek help if they feel depressed, anxious, or even suicidal.
The good news is that there are organizations like Art With Impact that are rewriting the mental health narrative one film at a time. Since 2012, this organization has distributed $150,000 in production grants to 30 films that portray mental health in a realistic way.
Television shows like ABC’s A Million Little Things and HBO’s Euphoria are also addressing stigmatized topics and initiating conversations about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
There are so many people working behind the scenes to improve the portrayal of mental health in media and provide resources to anyone in need. Let’s take a closer look at eight of those resources.
Mental health resources for creators
Backline is a nonprofit that provides free mental health programs to music industry professionals and their families. The support is offered on a one-on-one basis, and you can also connect with a larger community via support groups.
Whether you’re constantly on tour or not, this resource is easily accessible.
The Scars Foundation
Rock group Godsmack and its lead singer Sully Erna established The Scars Foundation to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide resources to help people on a global scale. The funds raised are distributed to organizations that support people who are dealing with abuse, addiction, mental illness, and other struggles.
IDONTMIND is a campaign that brings together a supportive community of people from diverse backgrounds who share their stories on the IDONTMIND Journal and advocate for mental health support. There is also an Ask A Therapist series where therapists answer questions about general mental health, anxiety, and more.
Like Backline, MusiCares is a resource that offers mental health support and financial assistance to the music community. There are three main areas of help that are offered: financial assistance, addiction recovery, and health programs.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
Actress Taraji P. Henson founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 to provide Black communities in the U.S. with therapy resources and mental health support. This nonprofit also partners with organizations that offer additional mental health programs and resources.
Born This Way Foundation
Lady Gaga co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her mother to provide young people from all backgrounds with mental health resources and support. This nonprofit is dedicated to suicide prevention and provides an international resource guide for anyone who needs immediate access to a helpline.
DocuMentality is a free resource and toolkit specially designed for documentary filmmakers that will be released in 2023. This resource will provide much-needed support for the documentary community as they continue telling meaningful, emotional, and complex real-life stories.
Art With Impact
As mentioned earlier in this post, Art With Impact (AWI) is an organization that is dedicated to de-stigmatizing mental health and supporting young artists and creators. AWI has hosted 594 arts-based workshops (and counting), provides free educational resources about mental health, and runs a monthly short film competition.
How to take care of your mental health as a content creator
Mental health resources exist to spread awareness, cultivate supportive communities, and provide real help to anyone who asks for it. By talking about mental health, we’re able to chip away at the harmful stigma and focus on repairing the damage.
In addition to seeking out a resource like the ones in this blog, there are several steps you can take as a content creator to protect your mental health:
1. Filter out harmful messages.
Use keyword filters, advanced muting, and tools like TubeBuddy across all of your social media platforms to hide comments that are damaging to your overall mental health.
2. Give your workday more structure.
Establishing a good work-life balance can feel nearly impossible when you’re working for yourself. By defining and sticking to a set schedule, you have time to unwind and detox from social media.
3. Regularly check in with yourself and others.
It’s easy to de-prioritize mental health when you’re busy or stressed. Take some time throughout your week to journal, meet with a therapist, talk to other content creators, and really process how your mental health has been lately.
4. Follow social media users who inspire you.
When content creation is your part- or full-time job, you’re exposed to new content from other users all day. Find the creators who inspire you, and unfollow the ones who make you feel badly about yourself — for any reason.
Music for meditation and mental health
The stigma surrounding mental health is harmful and largely ill-informed, which is why awareness is such a key factor in rewriting the narrative. Hopefully, we’ve been able to point you in the direction of a mental health resource that will help you or someone you know if ever the need arises.
Music can have a healing impact on the mind, especially during a meditation practice. If you ever feel the need to ground yourself and listen to calming music, here are three playlists that we’ve curated specifically for this purpose:
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