For this discussion we were joined by Personal Development Coach, Trainer and Mental Health First Aider Pat O’Toole. Pat helps individuals and organisations improve their mental health and well being and communicate effectively. She currently works at Rose Bruford College as a Course Director and is involved with The Mental Health Charter for Performing Arts. Pat helped to share best practice and spoke about how you can apply mental health first aid training into the work place effectively. For more details on Pat’s work please see here:

We were also joined by Mig Burgess who is a lifelong mental health patient and advocate for awareness. She brought her perspective as a mental health sufferer who has used Mental Health First Aiders’ and other mental health provisions as a patient.

An anonymised chat from the session can be found here.

Pat O’Toole’s Powerpoint from the session can be found here.

Mig Burgess’ Powerpoint from the session can be found here.


Seminar Resources:

UK Technical Backstage Entertainment Industry Mental Health Evaluation by Dr Paul Hanna

Article: Blackout Undertakes Pioneering Mental Health Research at PLASA 2019

Blackout Immersive Website

Relevant Organisations:

Time for Change Mental Health Charter

The Samaritans offers centralised information about how and where you can access support if you work in the theatre industry.  is a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry. Trained staff are available to offer support and signposting on any topic which affects your wellbeing.

The Theatrical Guild: are a UK charity for backstage and front of house workers, with over 125 years’ experience helping people.

You can talk to them about practical help at any stage of your career – from welfare and debt advice to financial support and counseling. The Theatrical Guild helps people across the UK to recover from ill health, overcome sudden set-backs, expand their skillsets, or speak with a counsellor. Every application is handled in total confidence and we will never speak to your employer about your circumstances.

BackUp – The Technican Entertainment Charity: provides financial support to entertainment technology industry professionals who are seriously ill or injured or to their surviving family members.

BAPAM – The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) is a unique charity set up to help anyone working in live performance to stay healthy.
In addition, the ISM Members Fund may be able to meet the costs of necessary treatment for members unable to cover these themselves.

BAPAM hosts free online one-to-one advice sessions on Health and Wellbeing: they holds free clinics where practitioners can obtain a free consultation with a clinician who has expertise appropriate to those who work in the performing arts.These are currently being done via telephone. To book an appointment call 0207 804 844

UK NAWC (National Arts Wellbeing Collective) is made up of individuals and organisations who are committed to improve health and well being of people working with or for us in the arts, cultural and heritage employment sectors of the UK. They are a fantastic resource where you can find guidance and information about health and well-being, services, charities and organisations that can assist you.

Mental Health Resources:

Working from home – Creative ways to support mental health

UK Gov Guidance on mental health which you may want to share with your workforce

Home working ergonomics & Wellbeing – with the extended lockdown, promoting the health & safety of your workers is vital. IOSH have created guidance to explain how we can help develop a positive mindset when working remotely

WhiteLight’s Kindness Spotlight: Looking After Your Mental Health – a few practical tips to ensure that we all continue to look after our wellbeing on a regular basis and that caring for our mental health remains a constant priority.

Previous ABTT Seminar on Mental Health:

ABTT Seminar: Mental Health in Current Times – June 2020

Seminar Chat can be viewed here.