BIGSOUND 2016 – Industry Experts Dissect Mental Health Issues In Music

“Every artist at some point has dealt with a mental illness,” stated artist manager Catherine Haridy.

At BIGSOUND’s Mental Health and Music panel, there was a wide discussion on how to deal with an inordinate amount of musicians that are dealing with depression, anxiety and suicide following research that states there is a disproportionate amount tied to the music industry.

Lending their expertise to this important topic, the panel consisted of Tom Larkin of Shihad, Catherine Haridy – Catherine Haridy Management, Julie Crabtree – Zebra Psychology, Jen Cloher – Milk! Records and registered psychologist Chris Stevens who spoke openly on their own experiences and guidance.

“(He) would like to see the music industry as a welcoming place as opposed to being a terrified space”

“Being an artist is a spiritual journey because you are faced with how shit you are,” expressed Jen Cloher, singer/songwriter from Jen Cloher and the Endless Sea when asked for her take on how she has had to come to terms with handling her own mental state and sustaining a livelihood within the music industry.

The panel opened on Julie Crabtree painting the mindset to a professional music artist, stating that “artists have their highs and lows,” and concluding that one of the leading causes to mental health among artists and musicians is they “need to manage their vulnerabilities”.


Tom Larkin added two valuable points of advice to the industry monster that wishes to churn out returns from an artist over a four quarter year – also noting that this kind of language is completely inconducive to a creative artist. One being that “there is a strong humanitarian focus, having a focus on the care for other humans” and secondly, he “would like to see the music industry as a welcoming place as opposed to being a terrified space”.

The panel also delved into the greater need to dispel the myths around their creative outlets being dependent on substance abuse and finding healthier life-long alternatives to sustain a career as a professional musician.

“Staring out of a window smoking a French cigarette,” was a bubble, which involved using drugs and alcohol to find her creative space in which to write, that Jen Cloher had to burst in order to find her reality to sustaining a healthy lifestyle in a recording business that did not allow for a nine to five.

If you need help dealing with depression or want to talk to someone, call BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or head to


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