Business News Labels & Publishers Media

Simon Danczuk MP calls on music industry to do more to protect musicians’ mental health

By | Published on Wednesday 1 April 2015

Simon Danczuk & Brian Harvey

Simon Danczuk MP has called on the music industry to do more to protect the mental health of musicians.

The call comes after Danczuk, who is currently standing to be re-elected as MP for Rochdale, spoke to former East 17 singer Brian Harvey for one of a series of interviews he has conducted exploring different political issues for LBC.

In the interview, Harvey spoke about his struggles with his mental health, feelings of suicide, and problems accessing NHS services. Many of his problems, argues Danczuk, were exacerbated by his time in the music industry, particularly by people working with him introducing him to hard drugs.

This is an issue of particular interest to Danczuk, the politician says, because he and other MPs are currently being lobbied by the music industry to support the introduction of tax breaks for the sector.

“It’s a great industry, worth nearly £4 billion a year, but I think they need to change attitudes towards mental health and do more to support their own”, he told Rochdale Online. “The music industry chews up and spits out a lot of people and a study last year by Help Musicians UK said almost 60% of professional musicians had suffered mental health problems. But no money is going to support these people. The industry is effectively ignoring it”.

Speaking to The Observer about his interview with Harvey, the MP added: “Brian was introduced to drugs by the industry. He might have dabbled earlier on, but he was introduced to hard drugs by people in the industry. That’s not looking after his welfare. Compare the music industry to the football industry, where they are now waking up to this. [Former footballers] Paul Gascoigne and Kenny Sansom get the help they need if they want it. The music industry compares very poorly”.

In response, the BPI said: “Mental health problems sadly affect people in all walks of life, including those in the creative community. Fortunately, there is greater awareness of what can be done to help now, and one area we are looking to develop is our work with Help Musicians UK – a wonderful charity that reaches out to artists in need of support across a range of issues, including mental health”.

Harvey and Danczuk first met earlier this year, when the former popstar presented evidence of an investigation into child abuse within the music industry to the politician.