Live music is the heart and soul of Central Texas, but the people who work hard to make that a reality can face unique and difficult challenges. Musicians and music professionals are at higher risk for mental illness and substance abuse, working under the stress of an unstable income, a skyrocketing cost of living, erratic tour schedules, distance from family and support, and constant proximity to drugs and alcohol.
SIMS Foundation has a network of over 130 providers that provide services to SIMS’ clients at a vastly reduced rate from the average rates for the area. SIMS maintains a full array of treatment options and clients are guided to the treatment that best suits their needs by SIMS clinical staff.
The SIMS’ Clinical team provides comprehensive case management for each client and their loved ones. This includes providing psychoeducation to help the client make educated decisions about their own behavioral health care, offering support to the loved ones of the clients as needed, assisting the client in navigating other complex service systems such as resources for homelessness and physical healthcare, and coordinating care of each client to ensure that the client is receiving the best care for their particular set of circumstances.
According to the Population Health Department, the average daily rate for acute psychiatric hospitalization is $2,149 with an average length of stay of 7 days. In the month of May alone, SIMS’ clinical staff worked with 7 clients who were decompensating but due to the intensive case management and extensive coordination of care provided by SIMS staff, SIMS was able to not only keep those clients safe and out of a psychiatric hospital, they successfully aided in the stabilization of all 7 clients. If SIMS were not in existence any longer, the City would have incurred a total of $105,301 for those individuals who would have inevitably been hospitalized (not including the costs associated with EMS, police involvement, emergency room visits, etc.). This would result in a $1,263,612 annual cost to the City. SIMS Foundation is the only organization doing this work with the music industry and we are vital to the community.
As the pandemic continues, we have seen an over 40% increase in the number of individuals in need. Our Clinical Staff has provided 600 hours of case management in the first 6 months of this year. With each passing week, the severity of issues that our clients are experiencing is increasing resulting in the need for a great deal of coordination care that is required to ensure that our clients are safe and that they are receiving the care that they need. Like all non-profits, SIMS has lost well over $300,000 in revenue due to canceled events and other fundraising opportunities that went away as the result of the pandemic. It is a very critical time for us as we struggle to find new funding all while working furiously to ensure that everyone who comes to SIMS for help receives the care that they need.
Jacquelyn Venson is a favorite popular musician involved with the SIMS Foundation. We asked her a few questions!
What inspired you to be a musician? My mother got me into piano lessons at 8 years old. That, combined with the fact that my father is a working professional musician, I was always able to have a guiding light in my father and work ethic from my mother.
When and how did your music journey begin? My mother got me into piano lessons at 8 years old and the rest is history.
What kind of genre or style would you consider your music to be? I consider it an intersection of R&B, Pop, Rock, Soul, Reggae, and Blues
What is your most memorable time with SIMS foundation so far? For one of my earliest concerts after switching to the guitar, SIMS Foundation partnered with me and helped me get the word out for the show. The show was held at The Sahara Lounge and ended up going really well!
What is your aspiring goal in the music industry for the next year? Survive this pandemic, take the broken pieces of the industry and put them back together again but this time with equity and inclusion in mind. No more of these "big industry, if you don't have Spotify numbers you're meaningless" garbage attitudes, and more focus on the amazing community of music we have in this town. More focus on sharing our talents with each other no matter what type of music we do, who we are, or how we identify.
Why do you feel the Austin community connects with music so easily, and what effect do you think music has on humanity? There just isn't anything like getting together with your friends, posting up with a cooler, and listening and/or dancing to music. This experience has always been at the center of the Austin, Texas Live Music Capital of The World lifestyle.
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