We’re here for each other

Musicians' Assistance Program

Volume 112, No. 2February, 2012

Cindy Green, LCSW

The office of the Musicians’ Assistance Program is your one-stop shop for musicians’ health. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, food stamps and more. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at or (212) 397-4802.

Local 802 recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, honoring the great Pete Seeger. The evening featured a star-studded lineup of musical talent and raised essential money for the union’s Emergency Relief Fund (ERF).

For those who don’t know, the ERF pays for two essential programs at Local 802. One is emergency grants for musicians in need. The other is the Musicians’ Assistance Program itself.

Let me share with you a little bit more about why the ERF is so important.

First, the ERF’s emergency grants help members pay for medical bills, loss or damage to instruments, rent, utilities and more during times of crisis and transition.

It’s painfully obvious why we need to make sure that this program stays funded: when you need this kind of help, you need it urgently and you need it fast. It could be you or your friends who need it some day.

Secondly, your contributions to the ERF support all of the activities of the Musicians’ Assistance Program, which is this office. Staffed and supported by the Actors Fund, MAP provides comprehensive, free help to Local 802 members so that you can maintain the quality of your life.

Here are some of the things we do.

  • Helping musicians with sobriety is one of our most important missions. Alcohol and drug abuse can destroy your career and your life, but it doesn’t have to. We can help you start your journey towards sobriety, and we will maintain contact with you so that your sobriety can be supported and maintained. We can also work with your family members and other support systems.

  • Another specialty of ours is evaluation and referral of mental health issues. We work with musicians to understand their emotional issues like depression and anxiety and we explore all of the options for managing these problems. This includes short-term counseling from our office or referrals to low-cost mental health clinics, low-fee private practitioners and other community resources.

  • We can help you find meaningful work to supplement your music so that you are not operating from a position of desperation

  • We can help you connect with health insurance options and low-cost or free health care. And if you are stuck with large medical bills, we can show you how to negotiate these down.

  • We can recommend debt management services

  • We can help you explore affordable housing options.

All of these are just the tip of the iceberg. Basically, we are in the business of helping you be your best. Being a musician can be nerve-wracking. We’re here to help when things seem to be beyond your ability to cope.

If you or someone you know is in need of our services, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can talk about what is going on and we can provide guidance on how to approach those you care for.

Oftentimes, people are unsure of how to help friends when they seem troubled. We will help you find ways to encourage them to connect with MAP and we will help them with whatever private and community services are appropriate.

For more information on any information addressed in this article or if you’d like a consultation, please call (212) 397-4802 or e-mail All information is kept strictly confidential.