Mental health and the performing arts

A student at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in the UK is researching mental health issues among performing artists. She’s been having trouble finding statistics and other factual information – just as I did when I began my research into bullying in the arts. I’ve made some suggestions and I really hope that they help her with her work – it’s an important subject area that she’s chosen to investigate, which she said was ‘close to her heart’.

Because of the lack of available information, Alex (not her real name) is focusing specifically on stage fright and performance anxiety – so it would be wonderful if the performers among you who have something to share could please get in touch. Positive and negative experiences will be welcomed; confidentiality will be respected; and I’m quite happy to pass on personal stories without revealing anyone’s identity – use a pseudonym if you like.

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About jacksonquigg

JQA provides top class content for websites and other publications, producing original high quality material that is thoroughly researched. French - English translation services are also available.
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6 Responses to Mental health and the performing arts

  1. mr mister says:

    I’m a screenwriter and I’ve suffered with mental illnesses since childhood from many different negative events. Life levelled off at the beginning of my college studies, but getting into drugs – my biggest mistake – only made my old afflictions come back even stronger, because I never understood the connections.
    I tried taking my own life, as i tried counselling and couldn’t even get sectioned. They said i had hurt myself again or someone else before they would section me – not really great options, especially when all you want is help.
    My life has now tragically been echoed by one of my cousins, an actor, who I was told this morning had hung himself!!!!!!!!!
    Till the stigmatisms and ignorances that surround mental health are corrected – the tradegies will continue, as if the tears for the lost are just leafs in the wind.

  2. jacksonquigg says:

    Guardian article on Sinéad O’Connor’s struggle with bipolar disorder is very pertinent to this research into mental health and the performing arts.

  3. Pingback: The Cinderella Project | jacksonquigg

  4. Holly says:

    I’ve loved the performing arts since I was tiny — and I’ve also always had difficulty with stage fright. Singing is the worst — only when solo. I would dread the date for my vocal recital like it was doomsday. And I would get so nervous that my hands would shake, my face would twitch, and I’d get such dry mouth that my throat would close up. Difficult to sing under those conditions. But by forcing myself to just do it — over and over — things gradually got better. Even now, with a degree in Musical Theatre, I still fear singing solo publicly. Maybe it’s because it’s harder to hide a mistake in a song, as opposed to a fumbled line or a misstep in a dance. Dance, by the way, is something I’ve always had very manageable nerves for.

    • jacksonquigg says:

      Thank you so much for your contribution – it’s very brave of you to speak up. I have also loved the performing arts forever (it seems) and, although I’m not acting any more, I still get terrible stage fright when I have to make a presentation or speak in public. Up until now, I don’t think those who have invited me to talk about my book, ‘Bullying in the Arts’, realise what I go through beforehand (although my husband and a few close friends do) so I think I’ve managed to keep doing it just by ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’! You do very well to keep doing the solo singing, and I’m intrigued by your comments about dance – you must be very body confident – and I wonder why dancing is less fearful for you than singing? But then, I’m quite happy to write stuff and nonsense as long as I don’t have to communicate it in public! I will pass on your comments to the researcher, and I know she’ll find them very helpful. Thank you again.

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