The fundamental goal of IBMA’s Wellness Project is to create more visibility for health challenges, which can be misunderstood, ignored or even denied. Staying healthy is the foundation of a rewarding musical career. However, many musicians are outside the mainstream channels for good health care information and services, which include group health insurance and annual physicals subsidized by an employer. The Wellness Project is aimed at making the task of finding answers to health and wellness questions easier by bringing together the collective wisdom of the bluegrass community and sharing resource information. We welcome input regarding wellness topics, questions, requests for sessions and seminars and any other angle that inspires thoughtful perspectives on wellness. The success of this project will be directly influenced by member participation.
There’s no substitute for visiting a doctor or other health care practitioner when you have symptoms that are troubling you. It’s also a good idea to educate yourself—not only after symptoms occur, but also before they show up.
Find out what diagnostic tests you should have on a regular basis. Learn the symptoms of heart disease. Get familiar with the basics of good nutrition. Understand the possible results of risky behavior, such as smoking and drug use. Be able to recognize the warning signs of substance abuse or of various illnesses (physical or mental). Take some easy and quick self-tests. Calculate the calories in a Big Mac!
The Internet provides a wealth of information, some of it reliable and some not. We’ve assembled a list of links to websites that provide reliable information on a variety of health topics (arranged alphabetically).
Remember, this is not a substitute for visiting your doctor.
Alcoholic Anonymous  provides information for people who may have a drinking problem and for those in contact with people who have (or are suspected of having) a problem.
Information on alcohol use and abuse can found at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism .
Also check the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's publication library  for information relating to alcoholism, family support, and other substance abuse issues.
If you are among the millions of people in this country who have a parent, grandparent, or other close relative with alcoholism, you may have wondered what your family's history of alcoholism means for you. Are problems with alcohol a part of your future? Is your risk for becoming an alcoholic greater than for people who do not have a family history of alcoholism? If so, what can you do to lower your risk? Find information at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 
Find a pastoral counseling center  in your community.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's treatment locator . SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP
Mayo Clinic 
The National Cancer Institute  has a wealth of information about types of cancer, prevention, testing and screening, treatment, and coping with cancer.
Also consult the American Cancer Society 
What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer  (National Cancer Institute)
Breast Cancer  (US National Library of Medicine)
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer  (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. If everybody age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. So if you are 50 or older, start screening now. The Centers for Disease Control website is a good start to find out more about how you can get screened for this disease.
The American Diabetes Association  offers information about this disease.
Could you have diabetes and not know it? Take the online “Diabetes Risk Test”  to figure out if you may be at risk.
Hand Injuries and Disorders  (US National Library of Medicine). Whether you are playing an instrument, working at your job, doing things around the house—no matter how old you are—you are always using your hands. When there is something wrong with them—if they hurt or feel stiff or your fingers tingle or feel numb—you may not be able to do your regular activities. Here’s what you should know about the various problems you may have with your hands.
The National Headache Foundation  is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about headache causes and treatments.
The National Institute of Health  is a good place to start to find out about the symptoms and causes of hearing loss, as well as various types of treatment.
The Mayo Clinic has a wealth of information about hearing loss (and more).
The Hearing Loss Association of America  is the largest organization in the U.S. for persons who are hard of hearing.
You can find out about the many types of hearing loss at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  is also a reliable source of information on this topic.
The American Heart Association  has information about hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases and what you can do to prevent them.
HIV InSite  at the University of California San Francisco provides comprehensive, up-to-date information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and policy.
IBMA has teamed with the National Business Associations Sound Healthcare  program to offer options for affordable rates on worldwide comprehensive health insurance to its professional members. Sound Healthcare offers members a choice of program options, each of which can be shaped to meet individual needs and budgets. In addition, group coverage is also available for groups or companies and their employees – custom tailored to needs. The primary strength of the program stems from Sound Healthcare’s affiliation with several different providers, thereby expanding the number of options while keeping expenses low. Available plans provide emergency care and treatment anywhere in the world. The only requirement for members to enroll is active IBMA professional membership (either individual or organizational). And even if a member is covered by a different health insurance plan, a member can enroll the rest of their family which does not have coverage. For more information, visit Sound Healthcare online or contact R.J. Stillwell at firstname.lastname@example.org  or by calling 615-256-8667.
Future of Music Coalition  offers a number of resources for musicians looking for health insurance options.
Information about asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, hay fever and the effects of smoking are available from the American Lung Association . There’s information you may need to help prevent lung disease, as well as useful resources if you’ve already been diagnosed.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information about—and ways to deal with---anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide.
Based in Louisville, KY, Depressed Anonymous  was formed with the idea that mutual aid empowers people and is a therapeutic healing force. The organization helps to form groups or circles of support throughout the United States for persons depressed.
Screening for Mental Health  is a provider of mental health screening programs, including both in-person and online programs for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcohol problems and suicide prevention. Visit this link to find out more—or find a screening event near you. http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/ 
Families for Depression Awareness  offers information for people coping with depression, as well as for their loved families and caregivers.
It often helps to talk to a professional. Here are some places to find a therapist:
Psychology Today 
If you need to find a professional to talk to, Psychology Today’s therapist locator  site is a good place to start.
Once again, the Mayo Clinic  has useful and well-organized material.
Here is a handy way to find out what the nutritional value  (or lack thereof) of your favorite foods – plus their calorie counts, sodium levels and cholesterol.
Overeaters Anonymous  12-step program
Musicians are more likely than most people to suffer Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). Here’s a list of easy tips  to help prevent these injuries, and what to do if you have them. The good news is that most people with RSIs recover completely if they take care of them at the early stages.
Here are some overviews of repetitive stress injuries as they relate to musicians:
If you experience pain or stiffness or tingling in your shoulder or back it might be due to a temporary strain, but it might be a symptom of an underlying ailment. So it’s important to visit a doctor or clinic. The Sports Injury Clinic  has an overview of the sort of injuries you might have.
Smoking: The Facts (from Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health), is on online tutorial with information about smoking and its effects on the body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosts a Smoking and Tobacco Use  sections of its website with a extensive resources on the effects of smoking and avenues to quitting.
The goals of Tobacco Free Living , a Louisiana-based organization, include reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, preventing tobacco use initiation among youth, promoting cessation among youth and adults, and eliminating tobacco-related disparities. It’s not just for Louisianans.
The following resources provide information on many health and Wellness topics.
Mayo also has a handy symptom checker , where you can check off your symptoms and it will provide the most likely causes. While this is not a substitute for going to the doctor, it can give you an idea of some possible causes of your symptoms.
Health information for the whole family is available from the American Academy of Family Physicians .
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offers Healthfinder , a guide to reliable health information.
Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth  provides accurate, up-to-date and jargon-free health information.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health offers health information at Medline Plus .
NOAH  (the New York Online Access to Health) has information on a variety of health topics.
Health and Safety  at National Consumer Protection Week
The Medical Library Association (MLA) has recognized the need to help consumers evaluate health information on the Web. To this end, MLA posts and regularly updates a list of the top ten most useful websites for consumer health information  and offers guidelines for finding and evaluating information.
Music Maker Relief Foundation  is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern musical traditions gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs such as food, shelter, medical care, and other assistance.
MusiCares  provides assistance for basic living expenses including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; addiction recovery treatment and sober living costs through the MAP Fund; psychotherapy, treatment for AIDS or Hepatitis C; and other critical illnesses. http://www.grammy.org/musicares 
Society of Singers  is a non-profit foundation offering food, medical and financial help to professional singers.
Do you have a wellness issue-related article, suggestions for content or a website link you would like to submit? Please email Eddie Huffman .
Many thanks to David Moultrup and the late Tina Aridas for compiling and updating this information for IBMA members.