PAMA Webinar

PAMA Young Professionals Webinar: Mental Health in the Performing Arts: 2-Part Webinar Series (Part 1)


About this Webinar

May 9, 2023 at 8:00 pm EDT

Mental Health in the Performing Arts: 2-Part Webinar Series (Part 1)

Thank you to those who joined us on Tuesday May 9, 2023 at 8pm EDT for the first of a two-part inspiring webinar series featuring experts within the field of mental health in the performing arts! Part 1 focused primarily on the factors that are contributing to the epidemic of mental health challenges within the field, from the systemic to individual level. This webinar was aimed at health professionals and educators who are part of the circle of care for performing artists, as well as leaders in the industry and performing artists themselves.

Our esteemed panelists for this webinar were John McMillan, a medical psychotherapist, Paula Thomson, a clinical psychologist, and Stephen Sitarski, a professional musician and violinist.



The recording from this webinar is available to members by clicking here. You must log in to watch.


John McMillinDr. John McMillan, MD, CCFP, M.Mus, B.Sc, B.Mus

Dr. John McMillan has been practicing at Musicians’ Clinics of Canada since 2011. In his life before medicine he pursued music in various capacities, which included classical piano, jazz alto sax, various pick-up bands on keyboards, and choir director. His main focus was piano performance, in which he completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, both at UBC. He also spent some time at the Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School (now known as the Glenn Gould School), and at the Banff Centre. Before medical school and residency at Queen’s University, he fit in a Bachelor of Science at the University of Guelph. In addition to his duties at the clinic he is also part of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s summer training camp faculty.


Paula Thomson

Paula Thomson, PsyD

Paula is a Professor, California State University, Northridge and licensed Clinical Psychologist.  She is Co-Director of the Performance Psychophysiology Laboratory and Professor Emeritus/Senior Scholar at York University (Canada). She conducts research investigating attachment, early trauma, and creativity. She is the co-author of two books, Creativity and the Performing Artist: Behind the Mask and Creativity, Trauma, and Resilience and author of multiple chapters and peer-reviewed articles. She was a professional dancer and continues work as choreographer and movement coach in dance, theatre and opera. In 2013, she was named one of the top 20 female professors in California.



Stephen SitarskiStephen Sitarski

Acclaimed for his musical versatility and eclectic interests, violinist and conductor Stephen Sitarski was born in Oakville, Ontario. He received his training from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His most influential teachers were Lorand Fenyves and Joyce Robbins. After holding the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, he took the same position with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and then went on to become Concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He is currently Concertmaster of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in addition to Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra. He has performed as guest concertmaster for many Canadian orchestras and has often been featured as soloist. Composers Glenn Buhr, Kelly-Marie Murphy, and Andrew Staniland have written concertos expressly for Stephen, and he has been involved in countless premieres of new works in solo, chamber, and orchestral forms. A former faculty member of Canada’s National Youth Orchestra, he is currently on the faculty of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory. Himself a victim of severe depression, Stephen has become an advocate and spokesperson for musicians’ mental health issues.