As a musician who has spent two decades on the road, Menno Versteeg of Hollerado understands the particular challenges of caring for your mental health when you make your living as an artist. There are the high-highs and low-lows of performing, being surrounded by all sorts of substances, having to deal with lots of pressure and little sleep. In fact, a number of European studies have shown that musicians are about three times more likely than the general population to struggle with mental health issues. And on top of that, being a musician is not a traditional job where insurance plans or health care resources are readily available. Versteeg is out to change that, at least on his own indie record label, Royal Mountain Records, based in Toronto.
Versteeg recently announced that all bands on his label will have access to a $1500 mental health fund, no questions asked. He dropped by World Cafe to explain where the idea came from and why he feels that caring for artists' mental health is, at least in part, a record label's responsibility. Plus, Versteeg introduces us to a couple of Royal Mountain acts he's excited about. Hear it in the player.