TV and Radio

Radio review: Finding wisdom in the face of adversity

Swedish DJ Avicii died by suicide last month after years of poor mental health

Chris Hawkins - BBC Radio 6 Music

Woman's Hour - Radio 4

MUSICIANS suffer from high rates of anxiety and depression.

At the top end of the scale for mental health problems are individual singers or players or DJs.

The recent deaths of Avicii and Scott Hutchison are evidence of that.

Mental health awareness week has been everywhere on radio.

But neuropsychologist Dr Catherine Loveday threw light on why musicians are particularly affected when she chatted with BBC 6 Music's Chris Hawkins.

We sing in the same way that we communicate as babies - it taps into the same system, she explained. So if someone says your singing is not good enough, they are saying something fundamental about you.

A survey by the charity Help Musicians found that nearly two-thirds of professional musicians suffer from anxiety and depression.

It may be about a lifestyle of performing and the adrenalin rush that is part of the job. Perhaps it is about the way you get paid - a lot or a little - and it may be about sleeping, eating and exercising which are all challenging when you are "on the road".

Loveday said one musician told her: "You're either smashing it or you're a failure," there are no in-betweens.

The doctor's message was a simple one: get a good financial plan in place and get healthy.

Journalist Christina Patterson found herself facing her 50th birthday without a partner, children and without a job.

She had a high profile post at the Independent where she was a columnist. Then they wanted change and she lost her column.

She also lost 8lbs in four days and didn't stop shaking for two weeks.

The Art of the Not Falling Apart, her book, was born of her own experience and a desire to know how others coped with catastrophe.

It's a mix of memoirs and interviews. Patterson told Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour that her job was everything to her: "I didn't know who I was any more."

The chat turned to being single and not having a partner or children. She had tried internet dating. She'd go on a date and felt she did all the listening.

"I could write a PhD on them and I'd be hard pressed if they'd ask me a single question. I felt like sending them an invoice for therapeutic services," she said.

Her book is about garnering wisdom from people facing adversity - that, and taking pleasure in small things like a piece of cake with your coffee, she said.

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