Mental health is incredibly important to us. Our friends and colleagues are artists, and between our over one hundred band members and employees, much of the spectrum of mental illness is prevalent in our lives. From general anxiety to depression, bipolar disorders and struggles with addiction, these issues tend to hit the music community particularly hard.
Many of these musicians are unable to afford the proper treatment or preventative care. Mental health can go unchecked for years and the consequences of this can often be tragic. We pride ourselves as a label that is run by artists, for artists, and we want our colleagues to be able to do their jobs with healthy bodies and healthy minds. Though it is not our place as a record label to personally involve ourselves with trying to fix these problems, we do feel that it is very much our responsibility to provide outside resources when help is needed.
That is why we are implementing a fund to help our artists seek mental health treatment. At the discretion of the artist, this money can be used for everything not covered by public medical insurance; from psychologist visits to counseling, couples’ therapy or even meditation.
Royal Mountain Records is a small Canadian independent record label. In addition to our staff, we work with over 30 bands. Although full health benefits are very much our long-term goal, we’re not currently able to afford the provision of full benefits to such a large number of people. That being said, we believe that something is better than nothing, and we know that this is just the beginning.
Starting on February 1st, 2019, every band signed to Royal Mountain will have access to $1,500 for mental wellness. This amount is out of our pocket, and will NOT be a recoupable label expense. To reiterate, the bands will NOT need to pay the label back for these expenses.
Here is why we need to do this:
- It’s the right thing to do. We are in an industry full of mental health issues, and the unpredictable lifestyle of touring musicians makes these issues even more difficult to deal with. Band members often live a hand-to-mouth existence and I know very few musicians who are financially able to allocate a portion of their income towards private medical insurance.
- Healthy workers means better work. Although this is not the primary goal, it would be foolish not to acknowledge the economic benefits of bands being healthier and happier. Not uncommonly, band break-ups and cancelled tours have underlying causes related to mental health. Encouraging bands to do periodic mental health check-ups may help to avert situations whereby artists are no longer able to perform their job.
The stereotype of the tortured artist is one that should not be perpetuated. Especially in such an unstable and uncertain industry. Royal Mountain wants our artists to get help if they need it, or go to the dentist if they want. But personal well being of artists should be prioritized and we hope that this initiative will help to start to change the industry for the better.