On World Mental Health Day, initiatives are being rolled out to mental health problems around the world. The music business has a massive problem with mental health and suicide, but there is momentum to try and address it. A new project, Tour Support, has been launched to tackle mental health problems by touring musicians and industry professionals.
Often it can seem like performing in front of thousands of adoring fans each night and visiting the world would cure all ills, but often it is just a stopgap for larger issues that come with constant travel, anxiety and weird hours / lack of sleep on the road.
Tour Support is a new division of LightHopeLife, a nonprofit suicide prevention and awareness foundation. The new non-profit will seek to alleviate the problems faced not just by artists, but also tour managers, road crew, vendors and other support personnel.
The original idea came from Steve Richards, an executive producer with Original Syndicate and former touring professional, who had lost ten friends to suicide in the past two years. Richards partnered with management, entertainment, and social impact company, Friends At Work.
I was deeply struck by the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, guitarist Neal Casal and the dozens of touring staff we have tragically lost,” says founder and CEO of Friends At Work, Ty Stiklorius. “This is a first step to provide resources, trainings and counseling opportunities to ultimately change the culture on the road.”
Vicky Cornell, wife of late Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, has come on board to partner with Tour Support personally and with the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
“The music community has lost far too many. We must promote and prioritize mental health and wellness and creating a real support system on the road is critical. Intervention is prevention,” she says in a statement. “Chris’s death was tragic and what makes it more so is that it was completely preventable. Tour Support’s trainings and resources will specifically help support the music community that Chris will always be a part of.”
Steve Aoki, who is always on the road is also on board saying: "I'm constantly on the road playing over 250 shows a year, sometimes multiple in one day. The mental and physical strain that this has on myself and my team can't be understated. And it takes more than just eating right and exercising to combat this. It takes a support system. A real network for all of us to turn to when we feel like we have nowhere to go, and I'm so grateful to be a part of an initiative that is doing something to be there to help us all.”