The tragic loss of Vincent Sipprell, viola player, remixer, creator, member of the Elysian Quartet and the duo Geese has made me consider our collective emotional and mental health. After a prolonged period of depression Vince took his own life. He was 35 years old. While coming to terms with the loss of a friend, I have been shocked to read that suicide is now the primary cause of death in the UK of men between 20 and 45.
The charity CALM was set up in 1997 to help prevent suicides in men and Vince's friends are being encouraged to donate to them. As an educator in a music college, we are increasingly considering musician's health as a core part of our training. Much of this has focussed on physical issues but as a composer I am all too aware of the dangers of solitude in an incredibly demanding, and rarely lucrative career. We need to discuss these issues openly, and help anyone who is at risk do the same.