Blog: ECMA Sound Minds Program 5th Anniversary

In 2018, The East Coast Music Association conducted a Mental Health Needs Assessment survey of the east coast Music Industry to understand where its members were in terms of mental health and the support needed. Since that survey, ECMA has been working to provide a number of services to its members and the industry at large.

The report, and ECMAs subsequent programming, has focused on three main support systems: One-on-one counseling, peer support, and mental wellness focused workshops such as “Building Emotional Resilience”.

It has been five years since ECMA embarked on this road to provide its members and the industry with greater support, and we are happy to share where we are today and how we will continue to grow this program.

Since the 2018 Wellness Check In Survey, The Sound Minds Program has:

  • Helped 130 individual artists with these one-on-one sessions;

  • Held between 1800-2000 one-on-one sessions;

  • Trained 14 peer supporters since starting the peer support program in 2021;

  • Held 75 peer support sessions with over 600 peers on such topics as Women in Music, Queer Arts Alliance, ADHA, Sobriety, Parenting in the Music Industry, and more;

  • Held 28 different webinars and skill building sessions to over 250 participants;

  • Started an Arts Health Alliance with 25 community representatives.

Next Steps: Goals for further program expansion

ECMA is proud of how far we have come since 2018, but there is more to be done. In the coming months and years, The Sound Minds Program will look to:

  • Update and Expand Research: ECMA would like to further the data collected from 2018 with a new survey. The potential to partner with an educational institute or research organization is of interest.

  • Expand Mental Health Services: Making use of best practices in behavioral health to increase the efficiency and scope of current programs.

  • Artist Health Alliance: Further development and strengthening of this new organization to provide a space for artists and arts based organizations to come together to work on small, medium, and large scale projects to benefit those working in the creative industries.

  • Pledge To Pause: Born out of stories and anecdotes received during one-on-one sessions and in peer groups, ECMA is inviting its members to join this month-long initiative to pause and reflect on the impact of alcohol in the music industry. Find out more here.

ECMA would like to highlight the work of our staff councillor, Errin Williams (MSW, RSW). Without the effort of Errin and her dedication to the well being of artists, many of these programs would not be running today.

ECMA would also like to acknowledge the support of the Province of Nova Scotia and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

To learn more about ECMAs Sounds Minds Program and wellness opportunities, visit

If you would like to support to work that ECMA is doing in the area of mental health and wellbeing of it's members, you can donate to the Mental Health Foundations Sound Minds Named Grant.

Sound Minds Named Grant is aimed at promoting the mental health, wellness, and resilience of Nova Scotia artists. In partnership with the East Coast Music Association, this 3-year program will support the mental health of music industry professionals.

Learn More Here

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