OPERA America to Offer Webinar Series on Mental Health for Opera Professionals

By Chris Ruel

OPERA America has announced it will be presenting a special series of webinars curated by the Women’s Opera Network that will focus on mental health challenges faced by those working in the opera industry.

The Taking Care series will begin with “Mental Health Care for Creators and Artists” on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 5:00 pm. This session will explore the challenges encountered by artists who are currently under- or unemployed. Many have worked the create their own opportunities and take on the responsibility of being both a company and a collaborator by themselves, while others remain out of work and striving to balance their career, and obligations to their families and communities.

Questions to be explored are: How can artists retain their sense of identity when unable to practice their profession? What are the best ways to cope with the additional burdens during this period? Will having a creative outlet beyond existing professional skills revive a sense of purpose? Practitioner Beth Beth Clayton, MA, CMHC will be joined by costume designer Jessica Jahn.

Each of the five 45-minute sessions is free and open to all with no registration required. The webinars center on a specific mental health topic and will be conducted by a licensed practitioner and moderated by an opera professional.

For those who cannot attend the live sessions, recordings will be made available for later viewing.

Here’s a look at the webinar lineup.

Mental Health Care for Creators and Artists

Practitioner: Beth Clayton, MA, CMHC
Moderator: Jessica Jahn, costume designer

Webinar date and time: Thursday, June 24, at 5:00 pm EDT

Mental Health Care for BIPOC Opera Professionals

Practitioner: Ginger Klee MS, LMFT, LPCC

Webinar date and time: Thursday, July 8, at 5:00 pm EDT

Processing the Trauma of COVID-19

Practitioner: Erin Doerwald, LCSW, CMT-P
Moderator: Cheryl Hickman, general director, Opera on the Avalon

Webinar date and time: Thursday, July 22, at 5:00 pm EDT

Mental Health Care in Professional Settings

Practitioner: To be announced
Moderator: Clare Burovac, general director, New Orleans Opera

Webinar date and time: Thursday, July 19, at 5:00 pm EDT

Balancing Caregiving and Personal Care

Practitioner: Baneca Henson, LPC
Moderator: Alejandra Valarino Boyer, director of programs and partnerships, Seattle Opera

Webinar date and time: Thursday, August 19, at 5:00 pm EDT