Posts Tagged ‘drama’

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

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.

Psychiatrist Recruitment

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Mental health in the arts has become an increasingly high profile issue in recent years. In partnership with performer support organisations such as Help Musicians UK and Equity, BAPAM is uniquely well placed to provide mental health advisory services to arts workers. We are looking for psychiatrists with an interest in performing arts clients to assess and advise clients with psychosocial concerns in our clinics. This is will include making recommendations for appropriate treatment and therapy, including to specific individual practitioners and services, both private and NHS, and working with the BAPAM team to ensure accessible options are explored for people in a wide variety of employment and financial circumstances. We benefit from a fascinating and highly motivated client group, excellent peer support and networking, plus access to unique training and clinical experience. Flexible working arrangements can be agreed on a voluntary basis, with an honorarium of £50 per hour available for clinical work.

If you’re a psychiatrist interested in getting involved with charity work in the performing arts, or can help us spread the word please contact us by email or phone.

Tel: 020 7404 8444
E: info@bapam.org.uk

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

BAPAM is Recruiting a Full Time Director

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) is a unique medical charity providing health advice and support to members of the performing arts community. We provide a national Helpline and confidential clinical consultations for performers experiencing performance-related health problems, as well as education and resources on healthy performance practice and professional training in performing arts medicine.

About the role

Following the planned retirement this year of our current chief executive, BAPAM seeks a leader to take the charity forward over what promises to be an exciting new period of ambitious growth in partnership with our principal funder, Help Musicians UK. The role involves strategic and operational leadership of the organisation, including management of a small team of administrative staff and a clinical workforce comprising of voluntary and healthcare professionals working throughout the UK.

For this role we’re looking for someone who is a strong leader, someone who has the ability to innovate and offer creative solutions, whilst thinking strategically. The successful candidate will be passionate about the performing arts and have the ability to be flexible and adaptable whilst displaying personal integrity and high standards of work.

Click here for further information and to apply.

The closing date for applications is Friday 5th August 2017.

Mind Out! Mental Health and Theatre Event

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Thursday 18 May, 6.30pm
The Actors’ Church, Covent Garden

BAPAM’s Deborah Charnock will join the panel at this year’s Theatre Chaplaincy UK (TCUK) Spring Lecture, addressing mental health in the theatre. Stephen Fry will be giving a keynote speech entitled Mind Out! This occasion is part of a growing movement to break the taboo and stigma that still surrounds issues of mental health in the theatre. Stephen will then join in the panel discussion followed by Q&A, with panellists Dr Deborah Charnock, Chief Executive of BAPAM and lead advisor on the ArtsMinds website; Annemarie Lewis Thomas, Principal of the Musical Theatre Academy, who launched the #time4change Mental Health Charter for the Arts; and the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford, a TCUK trustee with 30 years’ first-hand experience as a theatre chaplain. The lecture is free and open to all. Afterwards there will be refreshments and the opportunity to mingle and talk further.

Spotlight Open House

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Spotlight Open House, kicking off on Monday 3rd April, is a jam-packed week of workshops, Q&As and one-to-ones led by top industry professionals working across all areas of film, television and theatre.

BAPAM Registered counseling psychologists, Dr Carol Chapman and Jane Oakland will be taking part in the events, offering free 30-minute one-on-one sessions, a completely confidential opportunity for actors to discuss any challenges that they’re currently facing for which they may require support. All of these sessions are already fully booked.

Many people in the performing arts will experience challenges with their mental health at some point in their lives. In response, Spotlight, Equity, The Stage and BAPAM developed ArtsMinds to offer support for people who need it most and encourage people in the performing arts to talk more about the importance of getting support.

At BAPAM, we also offer free in-depth clinical advice for anyone working professionally or studying in the performing arts, and list specialist practitioners on our Directory of practitioners.

Many events throughout the week will be livestreamed and you can also follow updates on Twitter using the hashtag #SpotlightOpenHouse.

 

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.

New Postgraduate Certificate in Performing Arts Medicine at UCL

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

It is now possible to study for a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert), a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) or a Masters (MSc) in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London.

Study key areas of performance related musculoskeletal and neuromuscular injury, performance psychology, prescribed and non-prescribed medication, the disabled performer, travelling and touring, the science of dance and music performance and clinical management of the professional voice.

If you’re interested, an Open Day will be held on Wednesday 13th April – 16:00 – 18:00.

Study Performing Arts Medicine at UCL

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