Artists See a Renewed Focus on Mental Health as They Begin the Return To Touring

Leaders from Nashville organizations Porter's Call and Onsite discuss the importance of caring for mental health

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced tours to shut down, cutting off artists from one of their main sources of income–performing concerts for crowds of fans.

Starting in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic launched a wave of canceled concerts and large-scale tour dates, and many artists not only saw the dissolution of a large portion of their own incomes, but the devastating impact on the entire touring segment of the music industry–booking agents, production crews, touring musicians, caterers, tour managers, venue employees and more.

“Everybody in the music industry has been hit extremely hard because their livelihoods and their gifting is based on crowds,” says Al Andrews, founder and Executive Director for Porter’s Call, a Nashville-based organization that offers support to music artists. “And those just went away. We’ve naturally and expectedly seen an increase in anxiety and depression,” he tells CMT.

In recent months, several artists have opened up in different ways about how they care for their own mental health–whether that is exercise, taking a break from social media, therapy or medication–and how the past year has provided an opportunity for them to focus on taking care of mental health.

Brett Eldredge’s recent single “Good Day” focuses on finding the positive in everyday things, and he’s been open about his own struggles with anxiety. He told ABC News that at times, anxiety made it hard to celebrate achieving career milestones that he had worked so hard for.

“I went through a stage where I was so hyped up about it [my career] that I wasn’t able to really enjoy what I loved to do,” he said. “[I had dreamed] of getting songs on the radio, then I got songs on the radio, and I loved that in the beginning, and then all of a sudden I just got all these pressures.”

Eldredge also said over the past two years, he has focused more on caring for mental health, including journaling, therapy and spending more time outdoors. Over the past year, he’s also shared with fans things he uses to stay positive, such as positive affirmations.

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