For the past 10 years, clinicians at The ELK-Foundation have been dealing with the particular problems of high levels of anxiety, exhaustion and depression in the arts and entertainment industry, alongside those of people in stressful professions like medicine, the law, air-traffic control and the services.
They support their clients through one-to-one sessions, group clinics and, now, thanks to a reader of The Stage, with specialist residential rehabilitation at a new hei! Clinic.
The article in The Stage, about The ELK-Foundation’s “hei! – A Healthier Entertainment Industry” campaign, touched a nerve with a reader who asked what specific thing might improve the emotional wellbeing of people in entertainment and the arts most. For 10 years, The ELK-Foundation has believed that a residential rehabilitation clinic specialising in people who perform and those who work with them would do this, so the generous sum will help to start a residential facility in Hertfordshire and improve the availability of day clinics. The donation was made on the condition of anonymity, but hei! director Janet Rawson has been allowed to confirm that the money has been given not by a performer, but by someone ‘whose career has depended on the enormous talent of those on and behind the stage’.
The ELK-Foundation’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ray Iles said that this ‘hugely generous donation’ will also help to continue research identifying the specific biomedical needs of entertainment industry workers caused by the constant pressure of serial deadlines, moving from job to job, late night working and eating at unusual times. Ray continued: ‘Pioneering work by the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and ELK, providing day clinics, has shown that specialist support for people in entertainment and the arts can make an enormous difference. Our donor’s kindness means that we can build on that work with more research and concentrated, quiet care in a magical setting for those who will most benefit from a respite from their anxiety and specialist care.’
Janet Rawson believes that it is critical that ELK scientists – and health professionals at The hei! Clinic – talk to, and work with, as many organisations concerned about the emotional wellbeing of people in this sector as possible. ’We desperately want to work with clinicians in other health-in-entertainment-and-the-arts organisations, and those currently in none. We believe that we need to pool resources and knowledge in order to improve the lives of people who feel anxious, depressed and unhappy.
Excess-stress, and its frequent companion, the depressive condition Post-slow-stress fatigue, are inherent within the entertainment industry and regaining control over these debilitating and often harmful conditions is all about understanding behaviours. This donation to the “hei! – A healthier entertainment industry” campaign will help open three new day clinics specifically to address these issues plus the residential facility, bringing much needed support to arts and entertainment professionals.
Whatever your role in the industry, if you are interested in the work that hei! is doing, you can sign up to be a member at www.heathier-entertainment-industry.org There is no cost and no commitment. Membership gives access to hei! work opportunities specifically designed for people within the industry.