An Artist Run Non-Profit That Helps Musicians Who Struggle With Mental Illness

Written by on August 29, 2021


Written By  On August 29, 2021

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There’s a myth in popular culture about the musician as a tortured artist–and certainly from Jim Morrison to Kurt Cobain, there are plenty of examples of artists who have struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues.

Fortunately, there is an increasing amount of attention being focused on mental health issues, particularly within the music industry. The SIMS Foundation is an organization that has helped subsidize mental health and substance abuse recovery treatments in their Austin, Texas music community for decades. Now they are aiming to bring those same services to any musician, music industry professional, or dependent family member in need across the country.

Already providing tens of thousands of hours of counseling sessions, psychiatric visits, and days of treatment without barriers per year, SIMS are in the midst of a “Founders Challenge” with the goal of providing these vital services to as many in the national music community as possible at very little or no cost to them; achieving this by forging as many on-the-ground partnerships with local mental health organizations, government agencies and community leaders as resources allow.

Founded in memory of Austin musician Sims Ellison, who took his own life, the foundation is in the midst of a “Founders Challenge” which seeks to raise awareness and expand the group’s necessary work outside its home base of Austin, Texas.

“SIMS is actually the only non-profit in the United States that provides the full range of behavioral healthcare – so the full range of services for mental health struggles and for substance use to everyone in the music industry: musicians, music industry professionals and their dependent family members,” SIMS Foundation executive director Patsy Dolan Bouressa recently told Forbes. “The other thing we do is provide education around those issues to anyone in the music industry in the cities that we serve so that we can start working on improving the way that people respond to this and making it a little less intimidating to seek care – and also destigmatize these issues.”


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