© 2019 National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science

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Mental Health

We are currently working to improve our NHS and private dance-specialist healthcare services to include comprehensive mental health support. Whilst we are working on this, we have gathered together some useful resources on various mental health topics for dancers, dance teachers and directors to utilise. For specific questions about mental health, please send them through to manager@nidms.co.uk and our team will seek advice from our Dance Medicine and Science expert panel to answer your query. 

Click on one of the topics below to find related resources, or scroll down to browse through them all...

If you are looking for a dance-specialist psychologist, psychotherapist/counsellor, dance movement psychotherapist or any other holistic mental health practitioner, please visit
One Dance UK's Healthcare Practitioners Directory to search for healthcare practitioners in your area.
Click here to view the directory

Starting the conversation about mental health

Heads Together: Heads Together are a charity supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who work in partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges. To find out more visit their website.


We love this video Heads Together have released of model Adowa Aboah talking to her mum, Camilla, about the first time she started talking about her struggles with mental health. 













Men's Health Forum: Check out Men’s Health Forum’s manifesto about how to make it easier for men and boys to talk about physical and mental health within your environment.  To find out more click here.

The Blurt Foundation: Blurt aim to increase awareness and understanding of depression by providing peer-support, podcasts and their amazing BuddyBox scheme. To find out more click here.

Time to Change: Time to Change is a movement to change how we all think and act about mental health problems. To learn more about their focus and what they do click here. Below are three videos showing people explaining how talking enabled them to recover. Opening up about mental health can help break down the stigma surrounding it, these clips of friends talking about ‘the little things that can make a big difference’ when facing mental health issues show the importance of opening up to those around you:

Mental Health Foundation: Dedicated to finding and addressing the sources of mental health problems. Find their A-Z Guide to Mental Health here.


Dance Longer Dance Stronger (who are the people behind the new Performers Health Hub app-  click here to download it!) have some great articles on their website. Check out this post about anxiety and the dancer

Foundations for Excellence: Foundations for Excellence existed to share research, resources and best practice for the support and development of talented young musicians, singers and dancers. This was achieved through the online resource hub, the commission of new information sheets on a variety of specific topics and a biennial conference. The information sheets on performance anxiety created by Foundations for Excellence in collaboration with One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme, is now made available via their website.

One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme offer a range of talks for schools and companies. On their menu of talks they offer a workshop on improving confidence and reducing anxiety amongst dancers. Contact hdp@onedanceuk.org for more information or click here to visit  their website.


Mind: Mind is a mental health charity providing advice and support, with the aim to empower those experiencing mental health issues. They are campaigning to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. To find out more click here.

For more information on their art therapies and their benefits, learn more on their website.


Anxiety: Anxiety work to relieve and support those living with anxiety and anxiety-based depression by providing information, support and understanding. To learn more visit their website. Anxiety UK, provide a list of information on the different forms of anxiety, click here to find this under their 'Anxiety Information' tab.


NHS Choices: Feeling anxious or nervous is a common emotion for us all at different times in our lives but for someone suffering with an anxiety disorder it can be a struggle to control their emotions on a daily basis in many different situations. The clip shows a psychiatrist discussing the symptoms of anxiety and how anxiety can become such an issue for some people. To watch it, click here.

Pushing physical boundaries/creating new work

"Rock Bottom" is personal and unique to everybody. After years of providing inspiration and movement for other artists, Stuart Waters hit his own rock bottom. Exhausted and suffering mental ill health he took time to heal, reflect and decide how to move forward. The result is "Rock Bottom".

Dan Edwardes, Founder and Director of Parkour UK, gave the keynote speech on pushing physical boundaries and taking informed risks at Dance UK's Aesthetic Athletes and Dancers conference in April 2014.

#dancersneedrest Over the summer of 2015, Dance UK teamed up with Dancing Times to promote a twitter photo campaign called #dancersneedrest – promoting the importance of adequate rest for dancers between intense performance schedules. 
They received over 200 photos showing dancers resting from all over the world, ranging from professional dance companies, to independent dancers, to dance teachers with their very young dance students. The campaign raised awareness of the need for
rest and the value of balanced training schedules. This session will build on this groundswell to further promote the importance
of rest by offering tools for integrating rest into their dancing schedules, and exploring ‘active rest’ and how dancers can use it. To find out more click here.

Eating disorders


Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity, their vision is an end to the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders. On their website you can find support groups, online forums, helplines, research and education.

IADMS Nutrition resource sheet: It can sometimes be tricky to maintain a balanced diet when faced with a demanding timetable or rehearsal schedule. Our friends at IADMS have written this amazing FREE resource sheet covering all things nutrition for dancers.


Eating Disorder Hope is a charity offering information and advice on all types of eating disorders. They aim to offer education, support, and inspiration. To find out more about the charity visit their website.


Foundations for Excellence: What motivates you to dance? If you are dance teacher or a director, how do you motivate your dancers?  Foundations for Excellence created a resource sheet discussing different types of motivation and how to improve and maintain your motivation. Check it out here.

Empowering Dance: Research shows that the 'right' training and learning environment leads to happier, healthier and more accomplished performers, who are more able to cope with the demands of training as well as professional dance careers. Based on the ground-breaking work of Prof Joan Duda at the University of Birmingham, Empowering Dance workshops offer choreographers, directors and teachers the knowledge to create positive environments for dancers. Find out more here.


Elsa Urmston discusses positive psychology in dance teaching at the Beyond the Body conference in 2013.

Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated by James Clear, this article breaks down the process of how to become motivated and maintain it, whether it be an early morning run or completing last week’s assignment. Read it here.

Improving mental health support in schools/companies

Place2Be is the UK's leading children's mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training. To find out more click here


Young Mind’s is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.

We champion children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing across the UK. Driven by their experience we create change so that children and young people can cope with life’s adversities, find help when needed and succeed in life. To find out more about their mission and how they work, visit their website.

42nd Street: 42nd Street is a charity with a mission to support young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Based in the Greater Manchester area, 42nd Street has done work in schools to help improve the support for mental health. 

42nd Street, a charity to help the youth community of Greater Manchester in all aspects of mental health. Click here to find out more.

Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK

Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) recognizes body movement as an implicit and expressive instrument of communication and expression. DMP is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage in an emphatic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self. Find out more here.

Research studies and publications on the relationship between DMP and Mental Health can be found here.

Big White Wall

Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programmes, creative outlets and a community that cares. When you're dealing with everyday stressors or major life events, we'll help you get through it. Find out more here.


Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care offers face-to-face, telephone, email, website support and a place for people to turn to when someone dies. Click here to visit their website.


Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide offers support services for adults over 18 who have been bereaved or affected by suicide. Services are run by volunteers, the majority of whom have been bereaved by suicide themselves. Find out more about thier work here