LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) – The music industry has band together to launch a new nonprofit program called Tour Support, which provides mental health support for the touring community.
The initial idea for Tour Support came from Steve Richards, an executive producer with Original Syndicate and former touring professional. Having lost more than ten friends and colleagues to suicide in the last two years, Richards decided it was time to do something drastic to address the mental health crisis among touring professionals.
Partnering with Friends at Work, a management, entertainment, and social impact company, and LightHopeLife, a nonprofit suicide prevention and awareness foundation, they joined forces to create Tour Support as a means of providing tools for individuals while on the road so that they can access resources when the tour ends, before the challenges of returning home become overwhelming.
Of the initiative, Friends At Work, founder and CEO, Ty Stiklorius, said: “I was deeply struck by the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, guitarist Neal Casal and the dozens of touring staff we have tragically lost. This is a first step to provide resources, trainings and counseling opportunities to ultimately change the culture on the road.”
Michael Rexford, Founder and CEO of LightHopeLife, and music partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, added: “Mental illness has long been relegated to the dark, unseen recesses of society, and isolation is the worst thing that someone who is struggling with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and any number of other troubling feelings or conditions can experience, which only exacerbates the underlying problems. My own experience with suicidal ideation, combined with my longstanding involvement in the music industry and my time as a volunteer suicide prevention crisis line counselor, made it clear to me that I was uniquely positioned to bring a level of attention and impact to this crushing problem.”
Ahead of today’s launch, Live Nation Entertainment announced that its donation will fund the first year of the program.
Live Nation Entertainment CEO and President Michael Rapino said: “Artists and crews spend their lives on the road, bringing shows to life for fans around the world. But that dedication can come with sacrifice. It’s critical that we provide support to ensure that everyone can maintain sound mind and body while on the road. Live Nation is proud to join in providing new resources for mental health and wellness for the behind-the-scenes heroes who make it all happen.”
Generous assistance has also come from partners WME and Speakable.
In addition, Vicky Cornell has come on board to partner with Tour Support personally and with the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. She said: “Losing Chris has been the single most devastating experience in my family’s life. Tragically, there are countless stories like this, but we only hear about the famous ones. The music community has lost far too many. We must promote and prioritize mental health and wellness and creating a real support system on the road is critical. Intervention is prevention.
“Chris’s death was tragic and what makes it more so is that it was completely preventable. Tour Support’s trainings and resources will specifically help support the music community that Chris will always be a part of. I’m honored to be a part of their efforts to raise awareness, educate and support our extended families on the road.”
To coincide with the launch, Tour Support has also created a partnership with the world’s leading online therapy organization, BetterHelp, creating BetterHelp: Tour Support. The program allows tours and vendors to purchase a plan that makes professional counseling available anytime, anywhere, via text, phone or video chat to everyone in their organization. To make sure these new services are accessible for all, BetterHelp has gifted $250,000 worth of services to new and independent artists.
“Online counseling is a great solution to people on-the-go and those with hectic schedules, so it’s a natural fit for musicians and the people who work with them,” said Alon Matas, Founder and President of BetterHelp. “Tour Support’s initiative can be life-changing for so many people, and it aligns perfectly with our mission to make professional counseling accessible anytime, anywhere. We’re proud and excited to partner with an organization that proactively addresses the mental health needs of their industry.”
Artists endorsing Tour Support include: John Legend, Ludacris, Steve Aoki, MARINA, Grace VanderWaal, Rick Springfield, Lindsey Stirling, Hobo Johnson, Ana Tijoux, Boy Pablo, The National, AJR, Raphael Saadiq, Sofi Tukker, Mashrou Leila, Jake Shears, John Mark McMillan, Mike Birbiglia, Brett Kissel, My Morning Jacket, José González, Scott Helman, Bebel Gilberto, Kevin Morby, Madame Gandhi, Billy Howerdel, Caitlyn Smith, Pink Martini, Riley Clemmons, Cut Copy, Jarina De Marco, Helado Negro, Grace Weber, Ruth-Anne Cunningham, The War & Treaty, Gary Gulman, The Aquadolls, Ali Walker, William Fitzimmons, Stars, Cori Marks, Geographer, Caribou/Daphni, The Barr Brothers, VOILÀ, Steve A. Clark, Xenia Rubinos, One Bad Son, ÌFÉ, Frawley, Speelberg, Eddie Berman and Katell Keineg.
More information about the plan can be found at: lighthopelife.org/tour-support