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Research institute to probe stress among entertainment industry

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A medical charity has launched a new initiative to investigate stress levels in the entertainment industry.

The National Institute for Clinical Research into Stress in England, part of the Eric Leonard Kruse Foundation for Health Research, has set up a support programme for those working in the entertainment industry – whether they be actors, agents, directors or backstage staff – suffering from stress.

A Healthier Entertainment Industry will offer low and no cost advice and workshops to people working in the sector, and will also offer paid opportunities for people to take part in research.

Professor Ray Iles, chief scientist at the ELK Foundation said: “Entertainment professionals are fantastic people to work with when researching stress. Everyone in the industry works to tight deadlines and under unique kinds of pressure. Plus, amazingly, absenteeism is relatively rare. On the surface it seems that those in the sector cope far better than others would, but there are also indications that the pressures they are under can make them more vulnerable. We can learn from them and they too may benefit from our research, which will feed into a curative and preventative treatment programme.”

HEI was launched following a trial during which psychotherapists and biomedical scientists worked with writers, director, producers, stage managers and performers in 2012 during the Bush Theatre’s production of 66 Books, and workshops held at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre.