Even at the best of times, maintaining good mental health while sustaining a career in the arts presents unique challenges. The current pandemic disrupts our communities, creative practices and ability to earn a living, and brings significant additional psychological pressures.
Supporting and improving mental health throughout the performing arts is a cornerstone of BAPAM’s mission. We do this through clinical services, training, resource development, and by working in partnership with some of the most forward thinking organisations in the creative industries.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, we’re sharing information on the breadth of support available for performing artists across the industry.
There are resources for those in of need immediate help, as well as ongoing support and advice.
This is a time to think about investing in our current and future mental health, and we hope that strategies we learn now will equip us for sustaining health and creativity going forward.
The charity MIND sets out guidance on crisis services that are available, with extensive advice on how to deal with an emergency.
Industry-specific support available for those in crisis includes:
Equity 24/7 Mental Health and Wellbeing Helpline – 0800 917 6470 –The creative practitioners’ union has a strong support system for its members dealing with mental health problems, including a dedicated 24/7 helpline. This scheme also includes a free clinical assessment and up to 6 counselling sessions offered through BAPAM.
Theatre Helpline – 0800 915 4617 – Support for people working in the theatre industry, covering an extensive number of topics including mental health and wellbeing.
ISM 24-hour personal support and advice helpline – Members of the ISM, the UK’s professional body for musicians, have access to a free 24-hour personal support and advice helpline staffed by professionally qualified counsellors. They provide confidential support and advice on everything from bereavement and relationships to work-related stress and mental health. If you need further support, up to six sessions of structured counselling can be arranged, free of charge.
BAPAM Clinical Services
Our free clinics are open for telephone or online consultations. If you’d like to discuss mental health concerns related to your creative practice with a specialist doctor or psychologist, call our Helpline to make an appointment. BAPAM appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes to an hour, which allows us to get a good picture of the issues, so that we can work with you to create a plan to overcome problems. We can also support applications for financial assistance towards the cost of specialist healthcare from support organisations including Help Musicians, the Equity Charitable Trust, the Royal Society of Musicians and PRS Members’ Fund (See BAPAM Factsheet: Sources of Financial and Practical Support).
BAPAM Helpline: 020 7404 8444
Open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Free BAPAM Webinar Series: Healthy Practice Lockdown Training
We are running free Keeping Mentally Well webinar sessions on 28 May, 12 June, and 6 July.
Sign up here: www.bapam.eventbrite.com.
The sessions use evidence-based practical skills and are designed to empower you to improve your artistry and sustain health for the future. Our trainers have experience of working in the creative industry and have either a clinical or performance coach background.
Our Healthy Practice Lockdown Series also includes sessions on physical and vocal health.
BAPAM Weekly Online Community Drop In
Knowing what you should do to keep healthy is one thing, adopting healthy practice as routine in your life is another. It can be hard to create new habits and behaviours. Human beings are incredibly efficient and the way that we learn to do things is always to follow the path of least resistance. Our weekly Healthy Practice Community Drop in will help you set goals and stick to healthy practice routines. It will include new techniques and strategies to help you keep mentally and physically well now and into the future. Sessions will be held at 3pm on Tuesdays, beginning 2 June and continuing through to the end of August.
Sign up here: BAPAM Community Drop In
BAPAM Factsheets including Psychological Self Care and advice on managing stress and spotting the signs of a drinking problem.
ArtsMinds, the information hub created by Equity, Spotlight, The Stage and BAPAM, brings together resources to help people experiencing stress or anxiety during the pandemic, in addition to a wealth of information about mental health support services.
Music Support – Online 12 Step Support Group and Thrive App
Music Support is a registered charity for individuals in any area of the UK music industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders (including but not limited to alcohol and drug addiction). As social distancing came into place, they were quick to set up an Online 12 Step Support Group for music professionals who are members of any 12 step fellowship.
Music Support have also partnered with Thrive, the NHS approved mental health and wellbeing app, to offer free downloads. The Thrive app can help with the early detection, prevention and management of common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as building resilience so that users can feel empowered to improve their mental health.
Keeping Socially Connected
Social distancing is likely to exacerbate feelings of isolation frequently reported by creative professionals, and support networks are important to maintain.
Royal Society of Musicians telephone support network – Musicians feeling isolated and anxious can sign up to the Royal Society of Musicians’ Coronavirus Support Network to chat with other musicians.
TALK – a safe space for anyone working in the entertainment industry.