Mar 18, 2024 2 min read

More performers seeking specialist health support, says BAPAM

Performer health charity BAPAM has published a set of stats as it prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, revealing that demand for focused health support from performers has doubled since the start of the COVID pandemic, with the number of mental health consultations increasing four-fold

More performers seeking specialist health support, says BAPAM

The number of performers seeking specialist health support from BAPAM - or the British Association For Performing Arts Medicine - has quadrupled in the last decade, with demand for such support almost doubling since the start of the COVID pandemic. Mental health consultations in particular have quadrupled in the five years since 2019.

"The past five years have been destabilising and challenging for performers and gig economy professionals, with pressures heightened by the continued cost of living and housing crises", says BAPAM CEO Claire Cordeaux

"As a result”, she adds, “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".

According to new figures published by BAPAM, which provides dedicated health support to performers from across the wider creative industries, including music, the number of clinical consultations it delivers each year has increased 86% since 2019. 

Other areas where support is commonly sought include musculoskeletal injuries and vocal concerns. In terms of mental health, BAPAM says that since 2019 there has been a 396% increase in mental health consultations and a 357% rise in the number of patients contacting BAPAM for help with mental wellbeing.

As well as reflecting the pressures performers faced during the pandemic, and subsequently as a result of the cost of living crisis, that uplift may also in part be a result of people becoming more aware of the specialist support that is now available. 

For example, in the music industry, work by organisations like Help Musicians - which has a partnership with BAPAM - has definitely heightened awareness of such support. 

BAPAM has published the new stats as it celebrates its 40th anniversary and prepares to co-host the PAMA International Symposium in July, an annual event focused on performing arts health that will take place outside the US for the first time this year at University College London. 

Commenting on the anniversary, BAPAM's Chair - Peter Leathem, CEO of record industry collecting society PPL - says, "Over the last 40 years, BAPAM has become synonymous with clinical excellence and its work has provided life-changing and career extending, or saving, support to performers". 

"Its comprehensive suite of wellbeing services provides specialised care for the unique challenges our performers face, whilst its collaboration with partners worldwide continues to drive advancements in the field of performing arts medicine", he adds. "I'm proud of the work it undertakes, not just in music but the wider performing arts, and look forward to celebrating its invaluable impact as it turns 40 in 2024".

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