top of page
MAD -Musicians Against Depression.png

About MAD


MAD was founded in 2018 by Music ProducerCMA registered Mental Health therapist Thomas Maher and officially launched in January 2019. Having suffered childhood depression from age 11 coupled with working within an industry rife with Mental Health problems, Thomas decided to educate himself in the field of Mental Health therapies and as a qualified practitioner offers guidance and support using a comprehensive Holistic approach from Psychotherapy such as CBT and Positive Psychology to Mindfulness, Meditation, Music Therapy & Exercise/Diet.


The mission of MAD is to help Raise Awareness, Inform and Dispel the Taboos and Myths surrounding Depression and ensure support for people suffering this debilitating illness is accessible if and when needed. Each year commencing May 2019 and again in October 2019, we will be releasing and campaigning a single in aid of 'Mental Health Awareness Week' in the UK and 'World Mental Health Day' respectively to help raise awareness with all proceeds from digital sales going to charity. "Together We Are Stronger"

The World Health Organisation predicts that by the year 2020 Depression will become the second leading cause of disease worldwide and in some developing countries like Canada, the number one cause. Current estimations indicate that in the UK alone 16 million people are experiencing depression, that figure rises to a staggering 300 million worldwide meaning that depression is already at epidemic levels. Depression is a persistent low mood that affects everyday actions and behaviors. While most people experience periods of sadness, grief, or general low energy, people with depression experience periods of weeks or months of hopelessness, sadness, and disinterest. Depression is a serious mental illness and is not a sign of weakness or a mood someone can simply “snap out of.” While depression requires proper treatment and support, it is treatable, and most people with depression will improve and return to full health.

What is depression?

Depression refers to a group of disorders characterized by at least two weeks of depressed mood and a variety of severe symptoms that make daily activities, including sleeping, eating, and working, difficult or impossible. People with depression also often experience anxiety.

What causes depression?

There are a variety of causes of depression. While researchers have established that both hereditary and environmental factors can influence a person’s risk for depression, for the most part, they don’t know why some people suffer from depression and some do not.

Different types of depression are associated with different causes and risk factors, but the exact combination of factors will vary for each person. It is usually a combination of personal factors and recent events – not just one event – that leads to depression. Read more about the causes of depression.

History of depression

Before the 20th century, depression was alternately viewed as a spiritual or a physical disorder in different cultures and eras. Depressive symptoms have been described for many millennia. In ancient Mesopotamian texts, mental illness was thought to be caused by spiritual problems or demonic possession, and priests treated it with exorcisms. Early Roman and Greek physicians believed that the human body contained four fluids called humors: yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm. They believed that all illness was caused by an imbalance of the humors. Ancient Greeks called depression melancholia and defined it as a causeless sadness caused by an excess of black bile. Their cures for depression included diet, baths, and a mixture of donkey milk and poppy extract.

In the late 800s, the Persian physician Rhazes wrote that the brain was responsible for melancholia and mental illness. He suggested an early form of behavior therapy – positive rewards for appropriate behavior – as well as hydrotherapy (baths) to treat depression. Outside of Persia, however, depression was viewed as a spiritual affliction throughout the Middle Ages. Religious beliefs led many communities to fear people with depression. Some people with depression and other mental illnesses were subjected to exorcism, burned, or drowned.

During the Renaissance, “lunatic asylums” were home to many people with depression. In 1621, Robert Burton published Anatomy of Melancholy, which described physical and social causes of depression such as fear, poverty, and loneliness. He recommended some of the same treatments as the ancient doctors – diet, exercise, and bloodletting – as well as some new ones, such as distraction, travel, music therapy, and marriage. Asylum populations grew in the 1700s when depression came to be seen as inherited. Depression was considered an “unchangeable weakness of temperament,” and people with depression were shunned by society.

In the late 18th and early 19th century, doctors and scientists began studying the anatomy, seeking a physical cause for mental illness in the brain and nervous system. The term “depression” slowly replaced “melancholia.” However, treatments continued to lack scientific evidence of effectiveness. Doctors attempted to treat people who had mental illness with water immersion (keeping a person underwater as long as possible), spinning stools (thought to rearrange the brain into its proper position), and electroshock therapy, pioneered by Benjamin Franklin.

In the late 19th century, psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud popularized the idea that depression was the result of real or symbolic loss. Freud and other psychoanalysts promoted talk therapy as a treatment for depression. However, medical treatment around the turn of the 20th century was rarely effective. Lobotomies – the surgical destruction of the front portion of the brain – were rarely successful and often led to severe personality changes, coma, or even death.

By the middle of the 20th century, physicians created a classification system that divided depression into subtypes based on the supposed cause. It was thought that some people with depression developed physical symptoms or even attempted suicide as a way to coerce support from their friends and family. These distinctions were abandoned in the 1970s, and by the time the third volume of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) was published in 1980, depression was described only by symptoms, not causes.

The first modern depression treatment was identified in 1951, when doctors treating tuberculosis with the drug Iproniazid observed their patients’ moods dramatically improved. Three years later, doctors using a different drug to treat blood pressure found their patients were lethargic and depressed, even suicidal. These observations in combination with emerging neurology research helped scientists understand that the brain requires certain levels of neurotransmitters – chemicals necessary for communication between nerve cells – to function in a healthy way. This led to the Monoamine Hypothesis, a theory that depression in some people is caused by low levels of a neurotransmitter.

Based on this theory, researchers developed monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), the first class of antidepressant drugs, in the 1950s. MAOIs were followed in the decades to come by new classes of antidepressants, each with a different mode of action for adjusting levels of neurotransmitters. The groundwork of talk therapy laid by Freud and his contemporaries has grown to include many different forms of psychotherapy. Today there are more treatments for depression than ever before.


Treatments for Depression

No matter how severe depression can be, treatment is available. The two most common types of treatment, psychotherapy and medications, may be used on their own or in combination. Each case of depression is different, so there may be a period of trial and error before the best treatment option is found. If several classes and combinations of medication and different types of psychotherapy do not improve symptoms, your doctor may suggest trying brain stimulation techniques or an experimental therapy.


Also known as talk therapy or simply as therapy, various forms of psychotherapy have been used to treat depression since the late 1800s. Therapy may be used to treat depression on its own or in combination with antidepressant medications. The goal of psychotherapy is to treat the psychological causes of depression. Therapy can help depressed people deal with grief or losses, find better ways to handle relationship conflicts, and resolve difficulties surrounding life transitions. Most talk therapy is done with a licensed, trained mental health professional. Psychotherapy can be one-on-one with a therapist, or involve a group (group therapy), a relationship partner (couples therapy), or family (family therapy). Therapy involving others can add an element of social support as well as education for partners or family members about depression. Therapy can be short-term, involving a few sessions, or long-term, lasting over months or years.

Before selecting a therapist, read about the different approaches to talk therapy below and find one that feels right to you. Then, once you’ve received referrals from your doctor or researched therapists on your own, schedule a preliminary conversation with each. Ask about how they would treat your depression and use your conversation to determine whether you feel comfortable with them. Being able to trust your therapist is essential.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of psychotherapy. A therapist may use only CBT techniques or CBT in combination with other types of psychotherapy. CBT focuses on identifying and correcting negative ways of thinking that lead to depression. CBT can provide insight to view situations more clearly and teach more effective ways to deal with problems. As you work with your therapist, you might be asked to do “homework,” such as reading or activities that implement processes learned during therapy sessions. CBT sessions are commonly scheduled once a week for 10 to 15 weeks.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) focuses on identifying and improving patterns in interpersonal relationships. During IPT, the therapist aims to be a supportive and relaxed ally for you to help you navigate painful interpersonal transitions. IPT sessions are typically scheduled once a week for 12 to 16 weeks and are kept to that window so as to pressure you to take action.

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on your interactions with the world. Your therapist will ask you open-ended questions and may use free association in order to pinpoint and understand negative feelings and behavior, even those that are unconscious. Once these have been identified and accepted, you can work to overcome them. Psychodynamic therapy is especially beneficial to people who have a hard time developing and sustaining friendships.


Most medications prescribed to treat depression target one or more of the three neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) believed to regulate mood: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Antidepressants are categorized by the effects they have on these chemicals.

Common side effects of most antidepressants include sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, weight gain, and gastrointestinal (digestive system) upset.

It is important to remember that you may need to try more than one antidepressant before you find one that is right for you. When deciding on an antidepressant, your doctor will consider your symptoms, potential side effects or interactions with medications you are already taking, whether a particular medication worked well for a parent or sibling, and any other health conditions you have. For women, it is also important to discuss with your doctor whether you are trying to conceive, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding.

The most common classes of antidepressants are highlighted below.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first type of medication prescribed for depression. These drugs work by increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, which is often called the brain’s “feel good” chemical. SSRIs include Prozac (Fluoxetine), Zoloft (Sertraline), and Celexa(Citalopram). They generally have fewer side effects at high doses than other antidepressants.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are similar to SSRIs, but in addition to making more serotonin available, they also boost the levels of norepinephrine. Low levels of norepinephrine are believed to cause the brain fog often experienced by people with depression. Commonly prescribed SNRIs are Cymbalta (Duloxetine) and Effexor (Venlafaxine).

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are the oldest class of prescription antidepressants. These medicines prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation. MAOIs aren’t frequently prescribed as they can have more severe side effects and potentially life-threatening reactions with food or other medications. Therefore, if you take an MAOI, you may need to restrict your diet. MAOIs include Parnate (Tranylcypromine) and Nardil (Phenelzine).

Tricyclic antidepressants, also known as tetracyclic or cyclic antidepressants, are another early class of depression medications. Tricyclics work by preventing nerve cells from reabsorbing norepinephrine and serotonin, freeing them for use in the brain. Common tricyclics include Elavil(Amitriptyline), Pamelor (Nortriptyline), and Sinequan (Doxepin).

Atypical antidepressants are newer drugs that don’t fit into one of the other categories. They work by altering levels of one or more neurotransmitters, but they each use different approaches. Remeron(Mirtazapine), Wellbutrin (Buproprion), and Oleptro (Trazodone) are in this class. Wellbutrin is known to be one of a small number of antidepressants that does not have sexual dysfunction as a side effect.

There are a few other classes of drugs used to treat depression and anxiety. Antipsychotics, used mostly for bipolar disorder, include Seroquel (Quetiapine) and Zyprexa (Olanzapine). Anxiolytics and benzodiazepines, such as Ativan (Lorazepam) and Klonopin (Clonazepam), are prescribed for anxiety. When a drug is prescribed for a different purpose than originally intended, its use is considered “off-label.” Mood stabilizers, which were developed originally to treat trigeminal neuralgia and seizures, are prescribed off-label to treat bipolar disorder and certain types of depression. Mood stabilizers include Lamictal (Lamotrigine), Eskalith (Lithium), and Neurontin (Gabapentin). Stimulants, approved to treat people with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), include Adderall (Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine) and Ritalin (Methylphenidate). Stimulants may be prescribed off-label to treat some people with depression.

Never change your dose or stop your medication without consulting with your doctor. Although antidepressants are not addictive, suddenly stopping your medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms or a relapse. Some classes of drugs prescribed off-label for depression, including benzodiazepines and stimulants, may cause addiction. Use them only as directed by your doctor.

For the most part, antidepressants are safe to take. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all antidepressants to have a “black box" warning on the label. The most severe warning issued by the FDA, the black box warning is required because some children, teenagers, and young adults may experience suicidal behavior or thoughts while taking an antidepressant. The risk for this serious side effect is highest during the first month of taking a new drug or after a dosage change.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or behavior, contact your doctor immediately or get emergency help.

Other treatments for depression

Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder involves exposure to a light box each morning. Exposure should last 20 to 30 minutes, and the light box should be positioned 16 to 24 inches from the face. During light therapy, you should keep your eyes open, but do not gaze directly at the light. You may read or perform another activity during light therapy. Light boxes are not regulated by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. To be safest, choose a light box that filters out most or all ultraviolet (UV) light. Different styles of light box may be more or less effective for each individual.

Brain stimulation therapy may be tried if medication and psychotherapy are not effective. There are three common types of brain stimulation. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) uses a controlled electrical current to induce a brief seizure. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic fields to stimulate the mood centers of the brain. The Fisher-Wallace Stimulator is a device that sends gentle electrical impulses to the brain. These therapies are used during a set period of time and are not meant to be used long-term or as a maintenance treatment.

Many people with depression try complementary and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and supplements containing St. John’ wort, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), or omega-3 fatty acids. Some people report feeling better when they try natural treatments, but most have not been proven safe or effective in clinical trials. The FDA does not evaluate the purity or safety of nutritional supplements. Due to the potential for dangerous medication interactions, it is important to discuss any plans to use natural or complementary treatments with your healthcare provider.

Several clinical trials have shown exercise to be significantly beneficial to people with depression. It is important to choose a type of physical activity you like and can do regularly and to start with a small amount each day. Once you become accustomed to the activity, exercise for longer periods and consider exercising with friends or family.

Nutrition can play an important role in mental health. Researchers have found that people who eat a nutritious, balanced diet are less likely to report being depressed and to develop chronic diseases.

Experimental therapies such as ketamine and deep brain stimulation (DBS) show promise but have not yet received FDA approval for treating depression. Ketamine is an anesthetic but is sometimes used off-label to treat depression. Researchers think it works by repairing connections between brain cells that have been damaged by depression. DBS was developed as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, but is now being studied as a potential therapy for depression.

  • 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment

  • Despite mental health problems being so prominent in young people, most are not receiving treatment.

  • In fact, there has been a rise in the time children have to wait before they are given treatment.

  • In addition, children with depression and anxiety are the most likely to be left undiagnosed.

  • Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, according to mental health charity Mind.

  • The most common mental health condition is anxiety, which affects 5.9 in every 100 people.

  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among men and women aged 20-34.

  • In addition, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-year-olds.

  • In fact, statistics from the Office of National Statistics show the number of young suicides is increasing.

  • In 2015 1,660 young people under the age of 35 took their own lives, which was 103 more than in 2014.

  • 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment

  • Despite mental health problems being so prominent in young people, most are not receiving treatment.

  • In fact, there has been a rise in the time children have to wait before they are given treatment.

  • In addition, children with depression and anxiety are the most likely to be left undiagnosed.

  • Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

  • Depression is the third leading cause of mental illness in young people.

  • Meanwhile, 1 in 10 children aged 5-16 have a diagnosable condition.

  • Three quarters of all mental health problems are established by the age of 24.

  • Men are three times as likely to take their own lives as women

  • Depression in men – especially young men – is higher than in women. In the Republic of Ireland men are four times as likely to take their own life.

  • Every year around 6,000 people take their own life by suicide across the UK and Ireland. That is an average of 18 suicides a day – which is why prevention is key.

  • Although suicide affects both genders, three-quarters of all suicides in 2016 in Britain were male.

  • However, there has been a significant decrease in male suicide in the UK over the last 30 years.

  • Women are more likely to have mental health issues

  • While men are more likely to take their own lives, women are more likely to suffer from a mental health condition.

  • One in five women report having a mental illness, compared to one in eight men in England.

  • Musicians are three times more likely to experience depression

  • A Study completed by the University of Westminster, investigated 2,211 musicians, 71.1% of whom said they had suffered from panic attacks or anxiety, with 68.5% saying they had struggled with depression.

  • Researchers Sally-Anne Gross and Dr. George Musgrave cited a few major issues including money worries, because of juggling many different jobs and dealing with precarious and unpredictable pay, and poor working conditions.

  • They also found musicians were more likely to be subject to sexual abuse, bullying and discrimination – as well as antisocial and unsympathetic working environments.

  • While relationships with family and the support of close friends and partners are highly valued, they are also “open to abuse and feelings of guilt”. Plus, musicians often lack the financial means to seek professional support.

  • It is important to be aware that many people suffering from Mental Illness don't seek help because of the perceived stigma associated with the disease and quite often reach crisis point if at all, before help is sought or intervention occurs. With this in mind, it’s very important to always be aware of our friends, family and colleagues mental wellbeing, behaviours and interactions or lack of, for signs of trouble. Some people hide their depression and symptoms very well and indeed may appear fine on the outside but continue to suffer internally making early detection a difficult task.

  • Early signs of mental illness include: marked personality changes, an inability to cope with problems and daily activities, social withdrawal, strange ideas or delusions, excessive anxiety, prolonged sadness, marked changes in sleeping or eating patterns, thinking or talking about suicide, extreme highs and lows, alcohol or drug abuse, irrational fears, excessive hostility and violent behaviour.

  • If you suspect you have depression, talk to your healthcare provider, (do not keep it to yourself). A physician can assess your symptoms and can provide you with a referral to a specialist if necessary. You can also contact a mental health professional directly to discuss treatment options. If you suspect someone you know has depression, address your concerns. The individual may be willing to seek treatment if you bring up the subject. And treatment could save someone’s life.

  • As of 2019 - the advancement of Medications and Therapies such as Mindfulness, Meditation, CBT and other powerful techniques mean that Depression and other forms of Mental Health issues are very treatable leading to significant longterm improvements in Mental Health and general wellbeing.

  • Our Mission @ MAD Is To Help Raise Awareness, Inform, Dispel Taboos & Myths and To Reach Out To Those Who Need Assistance or Guidance. We believe in both Medical intervention and an Holistic approach to Mental Health that encompasses Therapies such as Mindfulness, Meditation, CBT, Exercise, Diet, Music and talking therapies...


If you feel suicidal or need to talk to someone about how you're feeling please call the Samaritans on freephone 116 123


Crisis Service (UK)


Alternatively if you're a musician seeking assistance or advice please contact Help Musicians UK T: 020 7239 9100 E:

bottom of page