Financial Uncertainty, Complex Mental Healthcare System, And The Toll on Artists’ Mental Health In The US



Complex Mental Healthcare System

Being an artist, while creatively fulfilling, can be mentally and physically demanding. A study by the Swedish distribution platform Record Union revealed that 73 percent of the 1,500 independent musicians surveyed experienced symptoms of mental illness.

These challenges stem from various factors, including the complex mental healthcare system,  fear of failure, financial instability, and the relentless pressure to perform.

This struggle isn’t limited to musicians alone; it extends to electronic music artists who often rely on gigs and music releases for their livelihood. The demands of their profession can take a toll on their emotional and physical well-being, highlighting the critical need for mental healthcare support.

Sister Zo, a full-time artist, candidly shares her experience, saying, “The most challenging aspect of being a full-time artist is the financial uncertainty.” While she is fortunate to have regular creative opportunities and a reputable agent, the unpredictable nature of her income and job security adds stress.

Artists like her are in a unique position in the US, as they often work as freelancers and must handle their own health insurance. This contrasts with many Americans who receive insurance through their employers.

Complex Mental Healthcare System And Financial Uncertainty

In the US, health insurance plans can be expensive, particularly for freelancers and self-employed individuals. While costs vary from state to state, a freelancer purchasing a premium plan on the government’s insurance marketplace might expect to pay an average of $456 per month.

Although there is a Medicaid option for low-income individuals, the income threshold for eligibility is quite low, creating challenges for artists with varying income levels.

Even those on Medicaid may face hurdles. Sister Zo, who is on Medicaid, encounters issues with her therapist not accepting the insurance. She explains, “Due to my income level, I don’t get any subsidies, which is definitely not ideal cost-wise.”

These financial burdens can make accessing vital mental health services difficult, highlighting the limitations of the US healthcare system.

New York artist WTCHCRFT shares similar sentiments about the US healthcare system, saying, “It just doesn’t cover what I need it to cover. Therapy and my antidepressants, I usually just pay out of pocket… Trying to find things [covered by insurance] is really hard but it’s not impossible.”

This underscores the frustration faced by artists trying to balance their mental health needs with the financial realities of their profession.

In contrast, artists in other countries often enjoy more favorable healthcare systems. In Germany, artists benefit from the Künstlersozialkasse, a government scheme that treats them as employees, covering half of their health insurance contributions.

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare services to all residents, regardless of employment status. Basic healthcare in Canada is publicly funded and universal, although additional mental health services, like therapy, may come at an extra cost.

Elle Bernfeld, a licensed clinical social worker based in Brooklyn, empathizes with the challenges faced by US artists. She notes, “The life of an artist is difficult. It has many highs and lows and unique challenges that therapy can help support.

In addition, working on yourself means more insight into your work and helps you perform at your best level.” Bernfeld emphasizes the importance of addressing mental health issues, given their potential to be debilitating.

However, not all artists in the US have access to affordable healthcare options. Memphis-based artist Qemist is uninsured due to a lack of affordable choices.

Qemist highlights the anxiety that arises when health issues occur on tour, saying, “I know it might be incredibly costly to be seen or to get antibiotics. Now I try to avoid unhealthy foods as best as I can to avoid getting sick while on the road.”

When Qemist requires medical assistance, he turns to community health organizations and urgent-care clinics that offer sliding-scale payments based on income. While these options provide some relief, Qemist believes that more accessible and affordable healthcare choices are needed, particularly for self-employed artists.

Despite the hurdles, Elle Bernfeld encourages artists to explore their insurance coverage thoroughly and seek offices that offer sliding-scale payments based on income. She acknowledges the financial challenges but underscores the transformative impact that proper treatment can have on one’s life and well-being.

In conclusion, the demands and uncertainties of the artist’s life in the US are further complicated by a costly and complex healthcare system. The mental health struggles faced by artists underscore the need for more accessible and affordable healthcare options.

While some artists find ways to manage their mental health, the limitations of the US healthcare system continue to be a significant concern in the artistic community.

— Share —

Up Next

Aviation Industry Gathers to Address Mental Health Challenges for Pilots and Crew

Aviation Industry and Mental Health

A significant event occurred recently, where professionals in the aviation industry converged to discuss the critical obstacles to accessing mental health care in this sector.

The meeting was triggered by an alarming incident of an off-duty pilot trying to sabotage a commercial flight in October thus, emphasizing the need for supportive and accessible mental health support system for pilots and crews.

Jennifer Homendy, Chairwoman of National Transportation Safety Board, pointed out a prevailing culture that leaves aviation professionals with no choice but lie or keep quiet when they are in need of assistance,

Up Next

Renowned UK Figures Urge Halt to Antidepressant Prescriptions for Mild Conditions, Call for Holistic Mental Health Approach

Use of Antidepressant

Prominent figures in health and politics in the United Kingdom have come together to form a coalition.

This has very forcefully called for an immediate end to doctors prescribing new antidepressants for people with mild symptoms of mental disorders.

This fervent request spearheaded by highly acclaimed psychiatrists, distinguished psychologists, and respected politicians carries with it an intense sense of urgency.

The urgency aimed at stemming the trend towards increased num

Up Next

Allina Health’s Closure of Adolescent Mental Health Unit Sparks Concerns and Regulatory Scrutiny in Minnesota

Allina Health Care

Unfortunately, Allina Health shut down the mental health unit for teenagers at United Hospital in St. Paul leaving parents of mentally ill children furious and raising alarm among the nursing fraternity, mental health advocates and officials in the state of Minnesota.

By September this year, the operations had been moved to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis leaving families like Susan’s with limited choices and increasing difficulties in accessing life-saving services for their vulnerable juveniles.

Up Next

South Korea Unveils Ambitious Mental Health Initiative to Tackle Rising Suicide Rates

South Korea and Mental Health

South Korea has taken an unprecedented step of putting in place an all-inclusive strategy to deal with its persistently high suicide rates, particularly among young people.

This move, announced by President Yoon Suk Yeol, is part of the government’s efforts to prioritize mental health and enact preventive strategies that work.

South Korea has consistently topped the OECD countries’ list of suicide rates for about 20 years now, a fact emphasized by the shocking figure of 25.2 deaths per 100,000 people in year 2022- more than twice as the OECD average.


Up Next

Crisis in Maternal Mental Health Care Uncovered: Thousands of Women Denied Support in the UK

Maternal Mental Health Crisis

Almost 20,000 women suffering from maternal mental health problems as a result of pregnancies or births are not being offered essential care, causing the NHS to be put under scrutiny.

However, some regions of England have seen waits for treatment exceeding 19 months due to excessive demand on consultant services where such women go to for help.

This disturbing scenario has caused anger, with experts describing it as “an absolute scandal,” and raises concerns that shortage and delay in essential care may isolate vulnerable mothers and lead to life-long health consequences for both them and their children.

Up Next

Tony Shalhoub Reveals Insight into Monk’s Inspiration Ahead of “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie”

Tony Shalhoub as Monk

Originating Adrian Monk’s Character by Tony Shalhoub

Tony Shalhoub, who is famous for his role as the obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk, provides insight into the inspiration behind the character and his upcoming movie “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie,” a USA Insider exclusive interview explained.

This Emmy Award winner in an interview with USA Insider shares his understanding of how Monk came to be, connecting that to the co-creator’s first-hand experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Up Next

Rise of Teletherapy in U.S. Schools: Addressing Youth Mental Health Crisis

Teletherapy in Schools

School-Based Online Therapy on the Rise

The increase in bullying and mental health problems among American children has resulted in an increasing number of schools offering teletherapy services.

This is due to the rising cases of bullying, loneliness, and anxiety among students which has forced concerned parents and teachers to look for innovative approaches for mental well-being support.

These include Maria Ishoo’s daughter from California and Valerie Aguirre’s daughter from Hawaii bo