MusiCares and The Onsite Foundation Announce Mental Health Workshop for Music Professionals

On July 30, the Onsite Foundation, an emotional health nonprofit, and MusiCares announced its partnership to create an emotional health workshop for music industry professionals called “The Key of C.” The three-day workshop is designed to help industry professionals affected by COVID process trauma and loss, and find new direction in their work. 

“The music industry was greatly affected by COVID, as individuals lost their sense of security and identity, experienced tremendous loss and grief, and struggled to cope with the loss of control over their own destiny,” says Laura Hutfless, President of The Onsite Foundation Board of Directors. “We are so thankful that MusiCares has stepped up to help us meet this overwhelming need with financial resources.”

The workshop will take place September 1–4 in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee — in close proximity to Nashville, a city with more than eight times the national average of music industry jobs. 

Any individual with at least five years of employment in the music industry — including musicians, engineers, stagehands, bus drivers, make-up artists and venue managers — are eligible to apply for the workshop. Otherwise, applicants must be older than 18 and at least 15 days sober. Applications can be found on the foundation’s website

According to the MIRA Survey of Musicians, music professionals experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than people in other industries, even before the pandemic. COVID-19, and the financial insecurity which accompanied it, exacerbated these conditions for many. An industry report conducted in Nashville noted that COVID-19 negatively affected the mental health of nearly 70 percent of industry professionals. 

Unfortunately, many professionals cannot seek help. A MusiCares survey conducted in 2020 found that over half of the 34.9 percent of respondents who sought mental health counseling couldn’t afford it. To mitigate this, the foundation is offering scholarships to “The Key of C.” MusiCares will also underwrite scholarships for any of the Onsite Foundation’s other programs. 

The halt of touring and performance incited widespread financial instability, but economic concerns were not the only ones to influence musicians’ mental health. Many members of the music industry do their jobs because they love them. Performers find meaning in connecting with their audiences. Stage hands and venue managers spend each day in an energizing, creative space. When what drives an individual, both emotionally and economically, is stripped away and given an uncertain future, depression and anxiety may find fertile ground. 

“As the leading music charity, MusiCares is dedicated to supporting music people in times of crisis and beyond,” says Laura Segura, Executive Director of MusiCares. “We’re excited to partner with The Onsite Foundation and create these important tools as part of our continued efforts to help music people recover and come back stronger after the pandemic.”

The Onsite Foundation is a nonprofit providing trauma-informed counseling and emotional health resources. The foundation hosts workshop events for specific populations who may lack broad access to mental health resources. Past workshops have centered victims of mass shootings, veterans or front-line healthcare responders. 

MusiCares, founded by the Recording Academy, is a charity offering a variety of health services to the music community. Over the past year, the charity distributed $25 million in direct COVID relief aid to music professionals. The charity also offers medical, dental and hearing programs, addiction recovery services, and disaster relief.

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