Archive for the ‘Health Promotion’ Category

Healthy Touring Checklist and Rider

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Artists, crew, and management teams can use a Healthy Touring Checklist as part of planning for a tour and prepare a Health Rider to help people involved with the tour support artist and crew wellbeing.

Our Healthy Touring Checklist has been developed as a result of a review of the evidence, consultation with experts, and our evaluation of a series of Healthy Touring Workshops with artists awarded funding for touring by Help Musicians UK’s Do it Differently Fund.

We are working with Help Musicians UK to finalise this guidance for publication. We have made a working document available which you can download here: Healthy Touring Checklist and Rider

If you’d like to give us any feedback on this, suggestions for additional items for the checklist, or resources that can help, please email claire.cordeaux@bapam.org.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks to our original Healthy Touring Panel, our BAPAM trainers – Lucy Heyman, Dr Helen Brice and Dr Pippa Wheble – and Help Musicians UK.

Touring is a fundamental part of performance professions and, as much as it is exhilarating, it can also be intense and tiring. During this period health problems which are unmanaged can be exacerbated, and new health problems can arise. Evidence from research tells us that around 75% of performers have health problems. Like many athletes who use their bodies intensively, physical problems and pain are common and, as freelancers, performing arts professionals often have no choice other than to attempt to maintain their careers, continuing to work while suffering from and managing physical symptoms. These problems are exacerbated by, and contribute to, psychosocial issues. The touring environment (with pressures relating to travel, working late, lack of sleep and a poor diet) and the high demands artists and crew make on themselves can all lead, potentially, to deteriorating mental health. Schedules often mean that healthcare is not available when most needed.

All of these factors can impact on the success of performances, the longer-term sustainability of a career and the individuals themselves.

Being able to discuss our touring practices with someone was very valuable, it’s not often that you’re able to sit down and think about how you could improve these practices. It can feel very isolating at times so it was really good and constructive

We were able to reflect and see that the things which we found stressful and difficult about touring were actually an amalgamation of small things, most of which we could do something practical about improving.

Effective ways to warm up my vocals & easily incorporate the warm-ups to my usual pre-performance routine

Helpful strategies for coping with performance stress, work-life balance and general wellbeing

BAPAM Psychosocial Working Group

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

BAPAM has convened a Psychosocial Working Group to bring together clinicians including doctors, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors, charities working with performing arts professionals to support mental health, and academics conducting key research.

The group provides a forum in which approaches to care and support can be discussed, and clinical leadership can be provided for developing and instantiating a service designed to support performing arts workers with issues related to vocation-related physical and mental health issues. We are using the NHS-approved evidence base produced by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), who review the published evidence for healthcare interventions from a clinical and a cost-effectiveness perspective, to map the services available to performing artists against the clinical evidence for best practice and identify gaps in those services.

The prevalence of mental health problems is considerably higher in the performing arts community than in the general population, and suicide rates are well above the national average. There is an acute awareness of the problems within the performing arts industry and many artists have been sharing their mental health experience in the context of their work.

The group has mapped many of the initiatives developed to support performers including Help Musicians UK’s Music Minds Matter helpline, Theatre Helpline, Music Support, which has a particular focus on addictions, Equity supported Wellbeing Drop-in sessions at the Actors Centre,  Music & You, Music for Mental Wealth and BAPAM’s own free service, which provides clinical assessments for performers across the UK. In addition, there is a growing number of practitioners who have trained to work in this area, building on insights gained from previous careers in the arts industries, for example, the Music Industry Therapist Collective.

We are grateful to have had so many valuable insights from practitioners and agencies involved in this important work and together we’ve begun identifying what is available, what is missing and how we should work together to support a comprehensive approach to mental health services for performers.

Mental illness is not a straightforward condition. Some people will experience just one episode of mental ill-health in their lives. Of those who receive a brief intervention, half will recover and never have another one. Others, however, experience recurrent episodes and will continue to do so through their lives even though they may be well for significant periods of time. It is essential that performing arts professionals experiencing challenges to their mental health receive accurate diagnoses as quickly as possible to ensure they access the right care. Where brief interventions are indicated, these should be delivered by practitioners who have a track record of working with performing arts clients. Healthcare practitioners, however they are employed, need to be able to access professional support from mental health specialists to ensure they are making the right diagnoses and to refer on if necessary.

Discussions to date have identified many areas for action, but the immediate areas to take forward have been identified as follows:

  1. Development of guidance for the performing arts industry covering points of best practice for performers, care providers and all organisations commissioning care for performers
  2. Rapid access to clinical assessment to determine the best care pathway
  3. Provision of brief interventions tailored to the needs of performing artists,  focusing on performance anxiety
  4. Access to mental health specialists (e.g. psychiatrists and clinical psychologists) for advice on the management of patients’ complex needs, for practitioners working outside the NHS
  5. An annual CPD event for psychosocial practitioners working in, and developing their career in performing arts health care
  6. A collective effort to support fundraising which aims to meet identified gaps for all practitioners

Event Report: Occupational Health in the Performing Arts Industry – The Original Gig Economy

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Health in the performing arts industry – whose responsibility?

Every year BAPAM helps with hundreds of inquiries about health problems related to working in the performing arts. These include musculoskeletal problems caused by strain and intensive use of parts of the body, vocal health issues which need specialist diagnosis and treatment, psychosocial problems including performance anxiety, stress related to the uncertain nature of the work (82% of the workforce are freelance) and more complex and enduring mental health conditions as well as hearing health problems. Performers, in common with other freelancers, tend to ignore health problems and seek help at a very late stage.  The research shows that, at any one time, 75% of performers will have a health problem.

We were delighted when the Royal Society of Medicine chose to partner with BAPAM on a professional development event held on March 27, 2019 to consider occupational health in the performing arts sector and its relationship to the wider ‘gig economy’. We were lucky to have a stellar line up of speakers from the arts, academic and clinical worlds to provide a range of perspectives on this question.

Kicking off the conference, Jane Dyball, former CEO of the Music Publishers Association outlined the complexity of the industry and the relationship of an artist to industry bodies at different times of their career. In the early stages, the artist may be very dependent on promoters, venues, managers, but that relationship changes when they are successful so that those bodies are dependent on the artist for their own success.

Dr. Colin Thomas, Chief Medical Officer of the BBC, added to the picture as he described the plethora of jobs undertaken by freelancers in broadcasting and the difficult balance between their tax status as self-employed workers and the duty of care issues that organisations owe to both employees and freelancers.

Zeb Soanes, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster and BAPAM Patron, described the moment when he suffered paralysis of one of his vocal cords and his journey back to full health and employment. He spoke with courage of the isolation and anxiety of losing your identity and the difficulties of accessing the right care in this very specialist area.

Professor Aaron Williamon of the Royal College of Music’s Centre for Performance Science, described results from recent research which demonstrated the lack of general fitness, particularly amongst student musicians.

In the afternoon we heard examples of good practice from Peter Garden of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Professor Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban. Peter outlined Liverpool Philharmonic’s approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. He and the Board have seen the impact of this investment on enhanced performance, improved employee satisfaction and engagement, and positive signs of reduced reliance on freelancers to cover sickness absence due to playing-related musculoskeletal injuries. Professor Redding outlined the advances in healthy practice in dance education and how a specialist health insurance scheme is helping to provide access to occupational health services.

Dr Rob Hampton, RCGP representative at Public Health England and a practising GP, described his own caseload and the difficulties for freelancers in accessing support with work-related health problems, the impact on the NHS and the evidence that working itself improves health. Dr John Etherington, NHS lead for rehabilitation, drew on research on performance enhancement in the military and in sport to demonstrate that effective training for the physical and vocation-related psychological demands as well as good rehabilitation after an injury can significantly improve health.

In this conference, the problems were clearly laid out and examples of solutions are available, but whose responsibility is it to drive the improvements? With over £5bn in UK annual revenue coming from the performing arts, it doesn’t seem sensible NOT to look after the health of the workforce, and leaving this role to charities on their own is not a sustainable solution.

Here are some thoughts from the BAPAM team on how the current position might be improved. First of all, to answer the question, who is responsible for improving performing arts health?

  1. Employers and Education Providers. These bodies do have a duty of care to employees and students. Liverpool Philharmonic has demonstrated the economic and artistic case for employers investing in healthcare. Many employers can and do support occupational health for performers. A consistent approach here would improve the health of 18% of the workforce. There are 50,000 students in performing arts education and Professor Williamon’s research, the practice in Dance Education and the work of the Healthy Conservatoires Network demonstrate what can and should be done to develop healthy behaviours in students and ready them for the realities of working life.
  2. The Freelance Performer. The performer is responsible for their own health (however, see point 3 below), including seeking help at an early stage and following the health behaviours which are evidenced to reduce the likelihood of health problems. Freelance performers who have learned these behaviours in education should be equipped for the working environment, but many performers have not had access to performance education. The provision of educational sessions and written and online materials together with peer support networks is crucial for this group. The Musicians’ Union, ISM, Equity, Help Musicians, Music Support as well as BAPAM and many other individual coaches and writers are currently offering support in this area.
  3. The Performance Environment. Research evidence tells us that good self-care is best achieved within organisational structures that support individual wellbeing. While other organisations in the industry may not have a direct responsibility for performers, they do have a responsibility for ensuring that the environment enables the performer to carry out their personal health responsibility. In addition to statutory health and safety duties, a culture and environment that encourages and supports healthy practice will help performers. As a very basic example, hydration is vital for performers – if there is no water available in a venue, it becomes difficult for the performer to practise this behaviour. What if the acoustics are so bad in a venue that the only way performers can hear themselves is turning the amps up excessively? What if there is a culture in your organisation that discriminates against certain groups or individuals, contributing to negative social relationships and mental health problems? What if the people you depend on don’t know where to go for help when they need it?

If this is a structure we can organise around, then what would a Health Manifesto for the Performing Arts look like?

  1. Everyone in the performing arts world needs to understand what healthy practice means, from the educator to the employer, individual performance professionals and any organisation or individual working in the business (managers, promoters, agents, labels etc).
  2. Everyone needs to know where and how to get clinical help when they need it.
  3. All funding options should be explored to develop a system-wide approach to providing for the health needs of performers, combining charitable funding sources with other sources of support including industry-specific insurance schemes, access to work funding etc.

We welcome responses by email at info@bapam.org.uk

New Clinics in Liverpool and Belfast

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

As part of our commitment to reach and support performers throughout the UK, we are pleased and excited to announce new regional clinics, this time in Liverpool and Belfast starting in May 2019. 

BAPAM are delighted to be working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who will host the clinic at the Philharmonic Hall, and Dr Marie McKavanagh, a Performing Arts Medicine specialist GP (and musician).

Liverpool Philharmonic have pioneered an exemplary approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing specialist health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. The positive effects of this investment are proving that performer wellbeing and artistic excellence are interlinked. Taking care of both also makes good business sense. Performers are healthier, happier, take less time off sick and are better prepared for elite performance. Through their key support for the new BAPAM clinic, Liverpool Philharmonic are now helping to bring this approach to the whole performing arts community.

The first clinic will be held on Wednesday 1st May. 

Belfast

BAPAM are also delighted to be working with the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast’s music hub, who will host the clinic, providing vital support for a healthy and vibrant performing arts community.

The clinic is led by Dr Christine Hunter, a BAPAM and  NHS GP and Medical Adviser to the Ulster Orchestra.

BAPAM’s Belfast Clinic will be held monthly from May 22

Who is the clinic for?

If you make a proportion of your living from, or study in the performing arts, and have a physical or psychological health problem related to your work, BAPAM can help you. BAPAM clinicians can provide an accurate diagnosis and information to help you overcome problems. The BAPAM team can identify the best sources of ongoing care, both in the NHS and from other specialists, and advise you about sources of financial support for people experiencing health problems affecting their ability to work or study.

Other regional clinics:

Glasgow: Friday 10th May, 7th June

Leeds: Thursday 2nd May

How to book a FREE confidential appointment?

Call 020 7404 8444 to register | Or email info@bapam.org.uk

Free Health and Wellbeing Webinar Series with ISM

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Tuesday 5th February to Tuesday 26th February

We have teamed up with the Incorporated Society of Musicians to present a series of free webinars looking at musicians’ health. Our performance health experts will lead the sessions, exploring solutions to problems frequently encountered in music careers. For more information on each session and how to book a free place click here.

Looking after yourself on tour: Tuesday 5th February
Health in the gig economy: Wednesday 13th February
Resilience and bullying in the workplace: Tuesday 19th February
Preventing playing related injury: Tuesday 26th February

 

Healthy Performance Workshops at The Actors Centre

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

We’re pleased to announce a new series of healthy performance workshops in partnership with The Actors Centre, with funding support from Equity.

Members of The Actors Centre can book their place for the first two sessions now.

Look out for more workshops as the series continues through 2018.

Friday 10th November: Finding a Work-Life Balance in Changing Times 

Dr Carol Chapman
Counselling Psychologist and Performance Coach

This 3 hour interactive workshop looks at ways of establishing a viable work-life balance and managing time effectively in the context of irregular jobs and irregular working patterns. These can affect health and well-being and impact on family and social life. The workshop illustrates ways of managing the stress reactions these unpredictable patterns can bring, and shows how to facilitate resilience. Participants will be able to raise appropriate issues that affect them personally and options for coping will be described and discussed. Suggestions for taking ideas further will be made. Book here

Friday 8th December: Healthy Voice

Dr Jenevora Williams
Singing Teacher and Vocal Health Expert

All voice users suffer from ill health at some time. Find out how to minimise the vocal fatigue suffered as a result of overuse or misuse. You can also learn

about the effects of medications, environmental factors, hormones, ageing, and of course – stress.

Dr Jenevora Williams will begin with a brief summary of how the voice works, followed by a practical guide to understanding and managing your own voice use. Book here

Free Performing Arts Medicine Learning Day London June 17

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Organised by the UCL Performing Arts Medicine MSc team, this free event takes place on Saturday 17 June at the Institute of Sports Medicine and Health in London. If you would like to attend please register by emailing dsis.performingarts@ucl.ac.uk.

1st PAM Day UK
17 June 2017
10am – 4pm

Full programme now published

Health Education in the Arts Survey

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Researcher, Lisa Brachfeld, from the MSc Performing Arts Medicine programme at University College London, invites musicians, dancers, actors, and singers who are professionals or students/teachers at accredited conservatoires to participate in a new study of health education in the performing arts. The aim is to prove that performers could benefit from more health and injury prevention education. Learning about attitudes towards this subject will help to improve the effectiveness of education curriculums.

Take the survey here

YCAT Sounding Board – Health and Wellbeing for Performers

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

YCAT Sounding Board is the new initiative from the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) to create a leading professional training ground for a broad and diverse range of music graduates and students. YCAT’s fourth career development seminar tackles the vital issue of maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing as a performer. BAPAM trainer, Jane Oakland, a music psychologist and vocal consultant, will be joining the panel to discuss issues around physical and mental wellbeing for those working in performance, and provide techniques to prevent and overcome these issues should they arise. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and discuss the challenges and benefits to all performers in engaging with this essential element of a balanced musical life.

Panel:

Matthew Jones – violist and performance health expert

Jane Oakland – BAPAM registered music psychologist and vocal consultant

Aaron Williamon – Professor of Performance Science, Royal College of Music

Time and Location: Tuesday 24th January – Royal Overseas League, London
Panel discussion: 1 hour
Q&A: 30 mins
Post-seminar: drinks and networking
Cost: £5

All welcome! Tickets are limited. 

Book your tickets here.

 

ArtsMinds – Mental Health Resources for Arts Professionals

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

ArtsMinds is a collaborative initiative from Equity, BAPAM, Spotlight and The Stage to bring together into one place a raft of resources for performers and creative practitioners facing mental health issues. Our starting point was to try to uncover the scale of mental health issues within our industry by putting out a survey to arts professionals to which more than 5000 people responded. This new site reflects their concerns, highlighting resources to help with worries about health, careers, relationships and finances, plus information about how to help others, and what to do if you need immediate help.

One in four people will experience mental health problems and it’s important to access the right support when its needed. It’s also important to remember that the majority of people recover or learn to manage their mental health issue.

It is our hope that ArtsMinds will help support people in our industry who are dealing with emotional stress and mental health challenges. We also hope this new resource will encourage more people to talk about their situations and go some way to help raise awareness and help dissipate some of the stigma surrounding these issues.