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Research Spotlight: Checking In With the Mental Health of Performing Artists

Findings from three surveys highlight the decline in artists’ mental health during the pandemic
  • Photo courtesy of Unsplash
A little more than a year into the pandemic that closed down performance venues, various organizations are looking into the mental health and well-being of the nation’s artists. Unsurprisingly, we’re not scoring high. But with vaccination efforts well underway, things may (hopefully) be looking up. 
 
The National Arts and Culture Survey, commissioned by 30 organizations and designed by Kelly Hill, founder and president of Hill Strategies Research Inc., based its results on the survey submissions filled out in November 2020 of 1,273 individuals and 728 organizations across Canada. Their goal was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both groups.
 
A Quebec study done by the Fédération national des communications et de la culture surveyed 2,117 members of artistic associations in December and January. The results reflect the struggle of many of the province’s artists to remain financially and mentally stable, and they forecast a potential evacuation from the province’s arts sector. 
 
For international context, we turn to a study conducted during the United Kingdom’s first wave of lockdowns (in April-June 2020) in which 385 performing arts professionals were surveyed using the HEartS Professional survey method. The findings were published in an original research article in Frontiers in Psychology with the intention of giving insight into the effects of the pandemic on working patterns, income and well-being. The results, like their Canadian counterparts, show a widespread pattern of emotional and financial difficulty. 
 
Below, we’ve featured highlights from these surveys. 
 
 
 
 
This research spotlight was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue. 
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