The office of the Musicians’ Assistance Program is your one-stop shop for musicians’ health. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, food stamps and more. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at MAP@Local802afm.org or (212) 397-4802.
It was July of 2008 when I first began my work here at Local 802. Eager to work with professional performing artists and excited to learn about the lives of musicians, I set out to provide the best possible services to the members of Local 802. I knew I was lucky to be involved in such a special community, but I had no idea just how lucky.
After almost five happy years working with this community, I must sadly say goodbye. By the time you read this, I will have just left the Musicians’ Assistance Program to pursue motherhood, the only other job I’ve ever wanted. Since the Actors Fund staffs and maintains this office, you can be assured that the first-rate services will continue after I’m gone. The program will be staffed by a new licensed social worker.
For my final column, I want to share some of the ways that MAP can enhance your life.
Local 802’s Musicians’ Assistance Program began with a grant from New York City’s Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Service, so our initial services were focused on issues of chemical dependency. This is still true today. Members who are using drugs or alcohol and want to stop should contact us. This is a safe, caring place for you to talk about substance abuse and recovery. We can recommend treatment programs, both inpatient and outpatient, and we can be there for support throughout your journey of exploration and recovery. We also work with insurance companies and treatment providers to ensure that you are taking full advantage of your resources and that you have the proper support you need to reach your goals.
The MAP office also includes Local 802’s Emergency Relief Fund. Through this fund, members who qualify can receive small grants during times of crisis. Grants can be provided for portions of rent, electricity bills, health insurance or even therapy if the eligibility criteria are met. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, and an application is required.
For Local 802 members at retirement age or beyond, we can offer support services and connect you with home care or alternative living situations. We can refer you to elder care attorneys and Medicare experts as well as to appropriate social services to enhance the quality of your life and avoid isolation. To accomplish these goals, we work with your entire support system, including family and friends, to ensure a safe and fulfilling life.
Members who are disabled or suffering from illness or injury can come to the MAP office to explore their options, including worker’s compensation or disability. We work with doctors and other service providers to create a plan that allows members to effectively manage their lives.
Given the unpredictable nature of the music business, the MAP office is frequently called upon to provide short-term emotional and moral support for its members. Anyone looking to address more chronic psychological needs will generally benefit from ongoing therapy. The MAP office has a comprehensive network of trusted therapists and organizations that provide low-fee counseling.
All Local 802 members are also eligible for services provided by the Actors Fund itself (see www.ActorsFund.org). This includes support groups and seminars, which often address a range of issues, including financial wellness, depression and anxiety, employment challenges and disabilities.
I would like to end by thanking a number of people who have made my job so pleasant. Tino Gagliardi, John O’Connor, Tom Olcott, the Executive Board and the union’s staff have all been extremely supportive of me and this office’s activities, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Dorothy Gibson, a loyal and dedicated member of Local 802 for many years, always knows how to get things done around the union. Tamar Shapiro and the Actors Fund staff, while being generous employers, have also provided invaluable support to not only the Local 802 membership, but also to me as a social worker. And of course, Mikael Elsila, Allegro’s fine editor, and Tim Pinckney, at the Actors Fund, have both been crucial in bringing you my thoughts and recommendations through my monthly articles.
The Actors Fund will continue to provide these services and I am confident that Local 802’s members and staff are in the best of hands. The sadness I feel about leaving is mitigated by the happy memories and priceless experiences I’ve gained from working with musicians. Thank you, Local 802, for this remarkable experience and to all of the members who met with me and generously shared their stories. It has been my privilege to serve you.