From the 15th to the 21st May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year there is a focus on anxiety. Anxiety is a common mental health condition which affects over 8 million people in the UK, yet less than 50% of people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder access support.
All of us at some point feel anxious, but this usually passes and is different to chronic anxiety which can affect every aspect of a person's life. People living with a mental health condition continue to be stigmatised, struggle with day to day tasks that so many take for granted, and have limited access to housing, education, and work.
People who suffer with Generalised Anxiety Disorder often have to take medication to ease their symptoms, and talking therapies are often helpful. However, many people with anxiety, as well as depression, use music as a means of self-medication; music has been proven to increase dopamine levels in the brain which has been dubbed as 'the feel-good' chemical. Music can also lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.
Musicians throughout the decades have documented their struggles with mental health, however, it is only really in the past 20 years that mental health has been given equal importance to physical health.
High profile musicians such as Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Selena Gomez, and Billie Eilish have been open about their struggles with ADHD, depression, and anxiety in a bid to normalise the topic and encourage people who are struggling to speak up and access help.
Other self-help strategies for managing mental ill health include meditation, yoga, ensuring you get a good sleep and a balanced diet, and having someone to confide in.
Charities which offer help and support include Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, and YoungMinds.