Analysis: Support Network

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The past few years have seen a change in attitudes regarding mental health provision at UK music colleges. How are conservatoires responding to rapidly growing demand?

Conservatoires in the UK are responding to a rising demand for counselling services by putting more resources into mental health support, and developing more integrated strategies for addressing health and wellbeing. The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), which in January 2019 appointed Sara Ascenso, a clinical psychologist and trained pianist, as its first lecturer in musicians’ health and wellbeing, has experienced a 20 per cent increase in requests for counselling since the start of the current academic year, compared with the equivalent period last year. At the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, head of counselling Nick Barwick says the last two years have seen respectively 25 and 28 per cent of the student body requesting counselling services, and he expects the number to rise again this year…


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