Former AFEM Manager, Tristan Hunt has launched a new coaching service to help artists and music industry professionals who have, or believe they may have ADHD. It is one of only a handful of such coaching services specifically tailored for the music industry. ADHD has become a hot topic in music over the past few years, with artists like Britany Spears, Steven Tylor and Solange Knowles speaking out publicly about their own experiences with the condition.
Tristan, who himself has ADHD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia, offers confidential online sessions and is already working with clients from the UK, USA and Europe. He brings together mental health knowledge, ADHD-specific training and over twenty years of music industry experience to help them get an understanding of their condition. He then guides them to peer-reviewed tools, structures and strategies which they can use immediately to begin managing their ADHD better and start thriving.
Speaking on his reasons for launching the service, Hunt says:
“I spent most of my twenty-year music industry career not knowing I had ADHD. So I know first-hand the struggles that artists and my industry colleagues face when working in the music business with the condition – both pre and post-ADHD diagnosis. People with ADHD are often especially bright, yet there can be a great disconnect between their often huge accomplishments and shortcomings in their everyday life”.
“Maybe they travel the world playing sell-out shows or close multi-million-pound deals overseas. Then return home to a confused partner who struggles to understand how they can accomplish these big tasks, yet fail to do “simpler” things, like paying their bills on time, remembering family appointments, or not sending out the invoices which get them paid. Helping these people – my fellow ADHD’ers – move past the shame that those disconnects can cause and helping them learn how to thrive with their incredible ADHD brain is hugely rewarding for me.” Tristan stepped down last week from his post as Regional Manager at the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM), after four years in AFEM’s core team, to focus on coaching full-time. Now working globally with coaching clients including Ditto Management, Infectious PR and Asa Bakoo Festival to support their neurodiverse artists and staff, Tristan was also one of 50 music industry leaders selected as a mentor by Help Musicians UK for the Ivor Novello Academy’s Mentoring Bank Pilot Programme in 2020. He is also a member of Sony Music UK’s in-house Coaching Pool and a visiting speaker on mental health in the music industry at Berklee College, Valencia.
Hunt has spent much of his career so far championing mental health education and awareness. During his tenure at AFEM, where he worked with over 250 music businesses across 25 countries, Tristan founded AFEM’s Health Working Group. The Health Group is now an 80-strong cohort of music executives who actively promote mental health education and awareness in the media and at events worldwide.
In 2019 Tristan joined Pete Tong and Klas Bergling at the International Music Summit, Ibiza, to do a keynote speech on the death of Avicii (Tim Bergling) and the need for greater mental health support for those working in the music industry. Hunt is a qualified mental health first aider, such a person he advocates every company should have in place.
Tristan spoke at Eurosonic 2021 on the need for music businesses to improve their knowledge of neurodiversity so they can make their workplaces more conducive for neurodiverse people to thrive. Hunt has also been invited to speak at The Musician’s Union conference in Leeds on 17th October, on the subject of neuro-inclusive workplaces and how the industry can better support neurodiverse musicians.
Hunt’s spoken on mental health and neurodiversity at a further twenty conferences including the Amsterdam Dance Event, Paris Electronic Week, Brighton Music Conference and Berlin’s Most Wanted Music.
In April this year, Hunt launched AFEM’s Neurodiversity Survey, a pioneering piece of research which he led, which looked at how neurodiversity is currently supported in the electronic music industry workplaces. The results of the survey are due to be published by AFEM in the coming weeks.
The growing awareness around neurodiversity in the music industry comes at a time when NHS England estimates that 3% of the population of the UK have ADHD and a 2020 study by the Global Health Epidemiology Reference Group placed the prevalence of persistent adult ADHD at 2.58% and symptomatic adult ADHD at 6.76% globally. Translating to over 500 million adults affected by the condition.
Leading ADHD magazine, ADDitude, also notes that there is a gender gap when it comes to formal diagnosis. With the diagnosis rate among American men at nearly 69% higher than women due to the differences in how the condition presents between genders. While ADHD is spotted more easily and treated clinically more often in men, women are just as likely to have the condition and can often go underdiagnosed and untreated.
However, ADHD is ahighly treatable condition and, with the right support, men and women with ADHD can thrive in creative industries like music due to the positive aspects of the condition which can include creative thinking, problem-solving and connecting dots quickly.
Tristan highly recommends that anyone who thinks they may have ADHD gets a proper clinical assessment. Anyone who thinks that they may have undiagnosed adult ADHD can try this free ADHD screening test, first developed by the World Health Organisation here – https://www.tristanhunt.co.uk/free-adhd-test