Over half of those employed in Hong Kong’s music industry have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past year as their sector was hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions, a survey has found.

The Musicians Foundation surveyed 465 music industry workers – including band leaders, crew members, musicians, sound engineers and event organisers – earlier this month.

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Results from the survey showed that 56 per cent of respondents had suffered from anxiety and depression in the last 12 months. Eleven per cent said they had experienced suicidal thoughts in that period.

Chris B, founder of the Musicians Foundation and alternative music promoter, said that the charity hoped to raise awareness of the impact of Hong Kong’s Covid-19 social distancing policies on the local music industry.

“Music industry people contribute hugely to Hong Kong’s status as a world-class center of arts and culture,” she said in a statement published on Monday.

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Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The survey also reported that over a third of respondents had either left Hong Kong or were planning to leave Hong Kong due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

“If we lose more key creative people as these restrictions continue, a very valuable part of Hong Kong’s arts sector will disappear, making it even harder to reboot the economy and reignite the cultural buzz that gives Hong Kong its special character,” the founder said.

Hong Kong has maintained some of the strictest anti-epidemic restrictions in the world. Performance venues were closed and live performances were suspended for a large part of the past two years.

“We’re asking the Hong Kong Government to consider more carefully the detrimental impact of these social distancing measures on the arts and culture sector and the Hong Kongers whose livelihoods depend on it,” Chris B said.

The city reported 1,685 new Covid-19 infections and one death on Tuesday. Hong Kong has recorded 1,241,435 cases and 9,399 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084.

See also: HKFP’s comprehensive guide to mental health services in Hong Kong

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.