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British Association for Performing Arts Medicine Reports Increase in Mental Illness in Performing Arts Community

Consultations for mental health have quadrupled since the pandemic


The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) has noted that the number of clinical consultations delivered to those in the performing arts (including music, dance, and theater) increased by 89% between 2019 and 2023.

In addition, consultations specifically for mental health have increased by 396% compared with their pre-COVID levels.

BAPAM has released these figures in anticipation of the annual PAMA International Symposium in London, which will be hosted by the Department of Performing Arts Medicine at University College London. Several organizations will contribute cutting-edge research in performing arts medicine at the event.

As well as offering mental health support, BAPAM also supports performers through musculoskeletal injuries (which account for 40% of their patients), as well as vocal issues.

"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," said Claire Cordeaux, BAPAM's CEO. "As a result, BAPAM has seen a surge in demand for our clinical services, particularly in mental health."

Cordeux also noted that the mental health figures were slightly better for those playing in an orchestra, with these players usually demonstrating faster recovery times than their peers in other parts of the industry.

"They went up at the same rate but they came down much quicker," she said of presentations and discharges for orchestral players. "And I wonder if there is a protective factor about being in an orchestra and whether they are able to support their players a bit more."

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