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The pandemic has been difficult on everyone, but professions who went on hold have been hit even harder. The music industry has lost an entire year of live events, concerts, festivals, and performances that they depend on for their careers and income. When i_o’s death made headlines, many artists flocked together in support.

Even though i_o’s cause of death has not been officially released, many speculated he ended his own life. In a Distractify article, Gina Vaynshteyn calls back to a few social media posts i_o posted right before his death. One post said, “do you ever question ur life?”

Many fans and artists reflected heavily on their own lives, friends, and family after i_o’s tragic circumstances. Social media was filled with fans and artists mourning the loss of one of the greatest EDM artists, and the loss of a beautiful soul from their community. This tragedy put into light a major issue the music industry is facing through the pandemic: mental health.

The DJ lifestyle is not for the faint of heart—it takes sacrifice. Even though the intense schedules of artists are on pause, there is still enormous pressure to be successful. The lifestyles, plans, goals, and hopes they had for last year disappeared in a single moment, but no one recognizes the loss these DJs are enduring. The current state of the world is emotionally draining as it is, but being in a profession that requires all their energy only makes matters worse.

In an article by DJ magazine, Sirin Kale explains:

“A lot has been written about the perfect storm of factors which make dance music a particularly toxic industry for anyone struggling with their mental health. Relentless touring schedules; jetlag; 6 am flights and 4 am set times. Anonymous hotel rooms that blur together. The pressures to appear successful on social media. There are financial pressures, too. The industry is contracting — in part because many young people have become health-conscious, favoring Instagrammable daytime pursuits over the clammy environs of nightclubs — which means that it’s harder to make money, and everyone is struggling to keep their heads above water. And that’s leaving aside the corrosive impact of drug and alcohol addiction, which are, let’s face it, ever-present in the industry.”

All of these factors are responsible for the mental health issues, burnout, and struggles that DJs across the world are facing. It is easy to see that the EDM community is bonded together, but that shouldn’t exclude the artists that made this all possible. Fans and artists alike should make mental health a priority as a community through these uncertain times in the world. It can be easy to forget what is important in life, but it is important to make it back to the passion that drives EDM to the top.

Even though i_o’s death was a tragedy and will weigh on the community’s hearts forever, everyone can learn that mental health is not something to ignore. As a community, reach out to friends and family who display signs of depression: fatigue, feelings of guilt, difficulty concentrating or remembering details, feeling hopeless, irritability, loss of interest, insomnia, persistently feeling sad or empty, suicidal thoughts, and many more. If needed, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255 and available at all times.

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