May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and BAPAM is taking the opportunity to spotlight the importance of speaking out about mental ill-health in the performing arts. From helpful resources to online events, we’re focusing on amplifying the conversation, sharing practical resources and highlighting accessible mental services tailored for the needs of performing arts professionals throughout the UK.

Keep reading to discover the origins of Mental Health Awareness Month, why seeking support for mental health issues is critical, and how to get involved with our upcoming events.


What Is Mental Health Awareness Month? And Why Does It Matter?

It may seem like Mental Health Awareness Month has materialised out of the blue. However, this event has a significant history dating back to 1949.

Created over 70 years ago by Mental Health America (then known as the National Association for Mental Health), Mental Health Awareness Month has flourished from an American celebration to a worldwide focus.

The aim of the month is to:

Learn about mental health and modern life
Build a toolbox of helpful strategies for difficult emotions, stress, and challenging situations
Advocate and raise awareness for mental health challenges in your community

Alongside Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 13 to 19 May.


So, why is talking about mental health so important?

Being open and frank about mental health struggles helps to normalise them, and we are pleased to see organisations across the creative sector working together to create a culture where mental health issues can be shared without fear of losing work or being judged. Open communication and collaboration can show that it is normal to experience difficulties as well as successes.

Sector-wide collaboration is key to raising awareness of mental health risks and the need for specialist initiatives in the performing arts. At BAPAM we’re pleased to work with organisations including Help Musicians, Equity, the Musicians’ Union, PPL, Dance Professionals Fund and PRS Members’ Fund to deliver mental health services, education and health resources.

In April, Musicians Mental Health Month from YCAT, BAPAM, The Musicians’ Union and Tonic Rider gave us a platform to share stories and discuss music industry specific mental health challenges and support.


BAPAM Workshops on Mental Health in the Performing Arts

BAPAM has plenty of expert-led sessions and workshops coming up just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month. These are designed to share evidence-based techniques and essential knowledge to help performing arts professionals improve mental wellbeing and sustain creativity.


Here are some of the highlights:


Movement for Mental Health with Help Musicians

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re partnering with Help Musicians and running a mindful movement workshop to help you step into the present moment and reduce stress. The session is conducted in partnership with Musician, yoga teacher and advocate for performance wellbeing, Veronika Klirova, and is accessible to all experience levels.


Wednesday, May 15 01:00 pm to 02:00 pm.


BAPAM & Equity Psychological Support Group: Challenging Negative Thoughts & Maintaining Positive Relationships

Working as a creative freelancer allows you to take control of your schedule and earning capacity. You can spend more time with your children and be present in their lives as they grow. However, this career isn’t without its own unique challenges. Hopefully, this blog has given you new tips or signposted you to a helpful resource.


May 16th 03:00 pm to 04:00 pm.


How to Prioritise Self-Care: Authenticity and Identity

Self-care is central to any mental health discussion. In partnership with Help Musicians, we’re exploring strategies and techniques performing arts professionals can use to navigate difficult moments. This session is led by an accredited counsellor.


May 22nd 01:00 pm to 02:00 pm.


Mental Health Resources

Psychological Self-Care
Managing Performance Anxiety
BAPAM-Factsheet: The Drinks Are On Me
Managing Social Media: Advice for Creative Artists
Supporting Mental Health in the Performing Arts Sector: BAPAM Guidance
Mental Health Support In A Crisis
Help Musicians – Music Minds Matter Explore
Mental Health Resources from the Musicians’ Union
Mental health support for Equity members


How Nutrition Can Affect Your Mental Health

Alongside Mental Health Month and Week, another exciting celebration in May.

May 11th is Eat What You Want Day, a day dedicated to eating your favourite foods and rejecting the idea of fads and restrictive diets.

There’s a clear link between nutrition and mental health. However, it can be difficult to separate the facts and fiction in a world where we’re bombarded with information on what we need to eat.

BAPAM’s Dietary Advice for Performance Professionals resource offers impartial advice on eating a balanced diet, supplements, how to eat when touring, and other food-related topics so you can eat well and give your best performances.


The Bottom Line

Whether you want to join a mental health webinar, quietly reflect on your own self-care, or get support from BAPAM’s mental health team, May is an excellent time to think about your mental wellbeing. Bookmark this blog so you can revisit the resources later or forward them to your friends to help raise awareness.

Learn more about BAPAM or keep reading via our blog.