Posts Tagged ‘Addiction’

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

Association of British Orchestras Conference Report

Friday, February 1st, 2013

How best do we support musicians to deal with the stresses and potential health problems associated with their working lives?

BAPAM Interim Chief Executive, Deborah Charnock, and AMABO Doctor and Honorary Physician to BAPAM, Dr Jonathan White, joined a panel discussion on performer healthcare at the 2013 ABO conference, held 23-25 January in Leeds.

The session, Wellbeing – Buzzword or Reality, was chaired by David Sulkin, Chief Executive of the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Fellow panelists included Alex Gascoine, musician from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Simon Webb, Director of Orchestral Management at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

The well-attended discussion involved lively comment from performers, managers and educators. There was an abundance of positive feedback about BAPAM’s essential provision of specialist and confidential advice and guidance about performance-related health problems. Major well-being issues mentioned by delegates were stress, mental health, and addiction problems, particularly alcohol (see this issue of Alcoholis – The Bulletin of the Medical Council on Alcohol, and Dr Jenny Lisle’s article, Alcohol and the Performing Arts).

Discussions included the responsibility of managers to create open and supportive working environments, as well as the role of peers as advocates for performer health. Such issues should also be seen in the broader context of public health policy.

Channel 4 Addiction Series

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Channel 4 are looking for musicians recovering from addiction to contribute (not for broadcast) to a new series.  Currently in development, the series will touch on the nature of addiction, how music can play a part in breaking addictive behavior as well as the science of music therapy told through personal tales.

If you are interested in taking part and supporting a project that is committed to highlighting this often hidden problem please email clinic@bapam.org.uk for more info.