BAPAM reports 86% increase in demand for health support for performing arts sector

BAPAM reports 86% increase in demand for health support for performing arts sector

The demand for dedicated health support from the UK’s performing arts sector has almost doubled since pre-pandemic times, according to new figures from the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). 

The number of clinical consultations delivered to performers by the specialist health charity increased by 86% between 2019 and 2023, while its patient numbers have quadrupled in the last decade from 700 in 2014 to 2,850 in 2023. The increase has been driven primarily by performers seeking help for musculoskeletal injuries and mental health concerns, which have mounted since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Marking its 40th anniversary in 2024, BAPAM is the largest provider of clinical services to the UK’s performing arts sector, working with musicians, singers, dancers, actors, circus performers and more, as well as those who work behind the scenes.

Musculoskeletal injuries, which affect bones, joints, muscles and tissues, were the predominant health concern among performing arts professionals in 2023, accounting for over 40% of all medical consultations delivered by BAPAM. This was followed by mental health, which accounted for 32% of all medical consultations handled by BAPAM in the past year.

Mental health consultations have quadrupled in the five years since 2019. The comparison with pre-Covid numbers shows a 396% increase in mental health consultations and a 357% rise in the number of patients contacting BAPAM for help with mental wellbeing since 2019. 

In addition to clinical assessments,  BAPAM’s UK-wide network of psychotherapists and psychologists delivered more than 7,200 psychotherapy sessions last year to performers funded under the Equity and Dance Professionals Fund schemes and the partnership with Music Minds Matter. For the Music Week Awards 2024, Music Minds Matter is the charity partner.

Enquiries relating to vocal health also increased and comprised 15% of BAPAM’s casework in 2023, compared to 6% in 2019. In response, in 2023 BAPAM increased the number of clinicians able to undertake an initial assessment to meet demand associated with vocal health issues.

The past five years have been destabilising and challenging for performers

Claire Cordeaux

The new data has been disclosed as BAPAM prepares to co-chair the 42nd Annual PAMA International Symposium in London from 18-21 July. It is the world’s largest event focused on performing arts health.

Claire Cordeaux, CEO, BAPAM, said: “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. 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.

“As we mark our 40th anniversary in 2024, I hope the medical and creative communities can unite in our efforts to support the artists and professionals who form the backbone of our world-leading creative and entertainment industries and bring so much value, not just to our economy and society but our everyday lives.” 

Peter Leathem OBE, CEO of PPL and chair of BAPAM, added: “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. 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.”

Dame Evelyn Glennie CH OBE, Grammy award-winning percussionist and BAPAM patron, said: “It’s absolutely crucial for performers to be able to protect and maintain our health; a simple injury or an undiagnosed condition can put a hard stop on our careers, reshape our futures and threaten our livelihoods. That’s why a service like BAPAM is a real lifeline for performers; it allows us to benefit from free consultation with experienced and qualified practitioners, ensuring we get the help we need to safeguard our careers into the future. It’s a privilege to be a Patron and to champion and promote the vital work it delivers and the people who make it possible.”


author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to receive our daily Morning Briefing newsletter

subscribe link free-trial link

follow us...