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Demand for Mental Health Support Soars in Performing Arts Sector

By Michael Vincent on April 29, 2024

Demand for medical consultations at the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) has increased by 86% since 2019.

The last decade has seen a fourfold increase in patient numbers, reaching 2,850 in 2023, with a focus on treatments for physical injuries and mental health issues, both of which have become more prevalent since the start of the pandemic.

Claire Cordeaux, CEO, BAPAM, said: “The past five years have been destabilizing and challenging for performers and gig economy professionals, with pressures heightened by the continued cost of living and housing crises. As a result, BAPAM has seen a surge in demand for our clinical services, particularly in mental health. We know this situation can be improved and that, by working together with industry, we can foster a better culture of wellbeing within the performing arts to reduce high levels of poor health and enable performers to thrive.”

Marking its 40th year, BAPAM continues to be a pivotal provider of clinical services to the UK’s performing arts community, evident by over 7,200 psychotherapy sessions in the last year alone, addressing the mental health of performers.

There has also been a significant rise in vocal health cases, now accounting for 15% of BAPAM’s consultations in 2023, which has led to an expansion of their resources. The increasing demand for these services reflects the larger challenges within the performing arts, highlighting the need for a collective effort to establish a supportive culture of health.

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This call to action aligns with findings from a study by the Swedish Record Union, which points to a critical need for mental health support within the music industry, especially among musicians in the 18-25 age group navigating the unique pressures of launching their careers.

Michael Vincent
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