Archive for the ‘Psycho-social’ Category

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services for Performing Artists: Guidance for the Performing Arts Sector

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Consultation Paper

BAPAM is pleased to have brought together a working group of clinicians and performing arts organisations interested in addressing challenges to the mental health and wellbeing of those who work in the sector. The group has produced guidance to support the development and delivery of services specifically for performing arts professionals and students. The guidance is designed to be used by:

• organisations commissioning or wishing to commission mental health services for performing artists

• organisations and practitioners providing mental health and wellbeing services for performing artists

• education providers offering mental health and wellbeing support to students

• individuals and agencies wishing to support best practice for performing artists

• performers and other performing arts professionals wishing to understand the standard of practice they can expect from services.

This guidance has been developed by BAPAM’s Psychosocial Working Group. We aim to make a real difference to the quality of services available. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum in which approaches to prevention, care and support can be discussed, and clinical leadership can be provided for developing and maintaining an evidence-based service designed to support performing arts professionals and students with vocation-related mental health issues. The group has drawn on the clinical evidence base, including National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, which contain reviews of published evidence for healthcare interventions from clinical and cost-effectiveness perspectives, to produce this guidance for the performing arts sector. There are seven key areas of focus:

1. Preventing Mental Health Problems
2. Early Clinical Assessment
3. Brief Intervention
4. Peer Support
5. Ensure Links with the NHS
6. Multi-disciplinary Team Approach
7. Managing a Crisis

We are publishing this paper for consultation and welcome all comments which will be considered prior to the final launch.

Read or download the paper here:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services for Performing Artists: Guidance for the Performing Arts Sector – A Consultation Paper

Comments can be posted via the online survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NKRFVGD

The consultation is open until 15 September 2019.

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

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

Psychosocial Practitioner Peer Supervision Group

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

BAPAM is pleased to support the Peer Supervision Group for psychosocial practitioners who work with performing arts clients.

This group, whose inaugural meetings took place in 2018, opens up the conversation between performing arts and psychological practice. It is developing a growing professional network for counselling, coaching and psychology practitioners who work with performing artists of all kinds. The group meets regularly, roughly every 8 weeks, in central London.

As well as discussing clinical cases and case issues, there is interactive exploration, mutual consultation and support on more general professional practice issues, including ethical issues, boundary and confidentiality areas. Such exchanges of expertise and experience enable members to reflect on and refine best practice in working with performers. The Group offers members the chance to share specialist expertise of particular problem areas and to provide interventions, guidance, information and professional support within a rigorous evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence framework in this developing field. The Group acts as a forum not only for encouraging and developing the highest standards of practice but also for identifying, promoting and supporting new research in the field.

Members of the group use a variety of approaches and come from a range of career backgrounds. Some members bring specialist expertise within the field, for example, working with people in particular arts professions or with certain types of problem. The Group is sensitive to BAME, LGBT+ and other dimensions of difference.

It is hoped that specialised supervision of this type will become available and accessible to many more practitioners on the BAPAM Directory and the Group is keen to encourage this in whatever ways it can. Members are happy to offer advice and suggestions to practitioners wanting to start their own peer supervision group and to find ways of welcoming practitioners new to the Directory to join.

Practitioners interested in finding out more, joining the London group or starting a group of their own are invited to contact Dr Carol Chapman by email at carol@carolchapman.co.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

 

Listen to the experts on World Mental Health Day 2018

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

At BAPAM we work with mental health specialists who have the knowledge and experience to help performing arts clients.

On 17th November, Clinical Psychologist Dr Anna Colton will be speaking at our training day about the Performance Environment, covering anxiety, how it affects performance, and how she works with adults and children in West End shows. You can listen to Anna discussing the challenges that arise for workers in this industry, her background and her wider work as a psychologist in our interview below, and you can book tickets for our Performance Environment Training Day here.

 

Surge in demand for backstage therapists due to pressures of social media

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

The pressures of performing in today’s social media culture means more and more therapists are working backstage to support performers in need according to an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

BAPAM registered psychotherapist Helen Brice who is featured in the article, says she is getting more requests for her services due to the fear of a blunder going viral within moments.

She says the emergency sessions which she gets called out for involve calming exercises to reduce a performer’s anxiety. According to her other factors affecting performers at the moment includes a demand to tour frequently, falling incomes and the need to stand out in a hugely competitive industry.

Helen has worked for more than twenty years in the music business in the areas of performance, production, publishing, artist management and classical music. She says over the last couple years people have started to become aware that the mistakes they make may be spotted and commented about on online within seconds. This possibility is becoming the source of more anxiety and is adding to the pressure to always say the right thing and avoid any thing that may be deemed inappropriate.

Her work backstage involves supporting clients with breathing exercises, using low energy techniques or more dynamic work depending on what the client needs the most at that time. The kinds of people Helen has helped includes musicians on the orchestral circuit as well as pop and classical artists and more recently, grime artists.

Psychosocial Practitioners Peer Supervision Group

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

BAPAM is pleased to support the establishment of a new Peer Supervision Group for psychosocial practitioners who work with performing arts clients.

The group, whose inaugural meetings took place earlier this year, hope to open up the conversation between performing arts and psychological practice. The aim is to foster a network for counselling, coaching and psychology practitioners working frontline with performance artists for interactive exploration, mutual consultation and support on professional practice issues, and for reflection on what constitutes best practice in working with performers, as well as to share specialist expertise, guidance and information according to a professional framework of rigorous evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence in the field.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on December 9th, and thereafter every two months on Saturdays from 12 to 1:30 pm at the London Natural Health Centre, 46 Theobalds Road, NW1 8NW.

Practitioners interested in finding out more or joining the group are invited to contact Dr Jane Oakland by email: jane.oakland@btinternet.com

Research: The Wellbeing of Musicians Across the Lifespan

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Musicians sometimes spend a lot of time looking at what is wrong, which can give more energy to challenges and create a downward spiral. Positive psychology is influenced by the idea that in spending more time focusing on what’s right, we allow ourselves to consider what it looks like to do well, which can in turn lead to a more positive physical/mental/emotional outworking.

Marie El-Khazen is a researcher inviting musicians aged 60+ to take part in interviews which will help develop knowledge and understanding of musicians’ perception of wellbeing as a performer, throughout a lifelong professional career.

If you’d like to help with this study you need to be aged 60+, having earned the majority of your full time income from employment as a performing musician. Interviews lasting 60 – 90 minutes will be conducted face to face, or via Skype, and will be recorded (on a dictaphone). Participants will remain anonymous. To take part or to find out more, please contact Marie directly by emailing U1620023@uel.ac.uk. You can also find here a detailed participant invitation letter.

This research has been approved by the School of Psychology Research Ethics Committee, and follows the standard of research ethics set by the British Psychological Society.