Launched in February 2019 by actress Raffaella Covino, Applause for thought is a triple award-winning Community Interest Company that facilitates free and lower-cost mental health support, talks, consultancy and accredited mental health training to all those working in the arts and entertainment industry.
Meet the Team
Raffaella CovinoFounder & Director
Raffaella Covino is a creative who has spent the last decade working as a Dance Captain/Associate and Swing across the West End, UK and Internationally. She took a year long hiatus from the industry in 2018 as she navigated a dual mental health disorder diagnosis and born out of that experience was Applause for thought. She now works as the Director of Applause for thought and as a jobbing creative in the industry.
Kate BaumTraining Lead
Kate graduated university with a degree in Psychology with Cognitive Science before heading into a career in teaching. She now has over 30 years’ experience in education and training, having worked as a numeracy consultant, a local authority trouble-shooter in failing schools, before taking up headship herself. In the case of the latter, she oversaw the establishment of a new school and led it to be categorised as ‘outstanding in all areas’ by OFSTED at the first attempt. This work led her to develop her own consultancy and become a Mental Health First Aid England trainer.
Victoria AbbottSupport Lead
Victoria has a BSc in Psychology from Newcastle University, Masters in the Psychodynamics of Human Development from the BPF (British Psychotherapy Foundation and PgDip in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of East London. She is an integrative collaborative client-led therapist for individuals, with her work focusing on identifying and fortifying your natural resources and strengths in order to create realistic, appropriate goals and positive change. She has a practice room in Central London (SE1) for face to face sessions and also accepts online clients depending on what you prefer.
Laura WhiteOutreach Lead
Laura White is an actor and well-being coach. She provides 1-1 sessions, group workshops and consultancy. Working largely to make mental health support more accessible across diverse backgrounds, she is the founder and director of The Page One Project, a mentorship programme offering support, guidance and empowerment to students of The Global Majority. Previous work includes National Theatre, English Touring Theatre, BlackStage UK and SOLT. Laura trained as a transformation coach (Animas Centre for Coaches), Mindfulness Teacher (School of Positive Transformation), Mental Health First Aider (Mental Health First Aid England) and is currently studying for her MA in Psychology of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Laura is extremely passionate about changing the way we talk, access and support mental health in the arts. Through lived experience and the experience of friends and peers, she knows the unique pressures and challenges the industry faces. She is delighted to be working with Applause for Thought.
Josh BeckmanAdmin and Project Support
Josh is first and foremost an actor and creative with experience working across stage and screen. He joined Applause for thought in 2020 to support the business during a time of continuous growth. He subsequently developed the role of executive assistant to Founder and CEO, Raff Covino, helping set up much of the organisation’s administrative framework, managing courses, social media channels, internal and external calendars, as well as pioneering a number of outreach projects himself. There are not many areas of Applause for thought’s work Josh hasn’t had his fingers in - and he has loved every second of it! Josh continues to work for AFT on an adhoc basis, providing admin support, while he completes an MFA in Professional Acting at LAMDA.
Alex LeggeExecutive Assistant & Project Coordinator
Vicki HillAdmin & Project Support
More members of the AFT family
Crystal NichollsTalks & Workshops
Originally from Barbados, Crystal Nicholls is a professional dancer and Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC), certified by the Institute of Transformational Nutrition.
Dr. Lucie ClementsTalks & Workshops
Lucie is an ex dancer and British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and a specialist in psychological health and wellbeing in the performing arts industry.
Hannah NiehTalks & Workshops
My journey towards becoming a life coach has come through an ongoing career as a performing artist and as a contributor in the non-profit sector. In more recent years, I have served as a founding board member for ‘Build a Free World’, a US anti-trafficking organization, and worked with Rainlily, an org in Hong Kong that combats sexual violence.
Our mantra is ‘Education Equals Prevention’, as we believe that if we can empower people with the right knowledge and tools and make this information and support more accessible and affordable, we can not only help break the mental health stigma – but also help prevent more serious mental health concerns from developing and contribute to making the arts a healthier and more inclusive industry to be a part of.
What People Say
"I'm grateful to AFT, Kate Baum and MHFAE for giving me the tools to be able to support both my own and others' mental health. It's immediately apparent how I can apply my knowledge almost daily in personal and professional settings and it will serve me well as an individual and as part of a team."
Rebecca Actor (Adult Mental Health First Aid Course)
"Thank you so much for the course! I don’t even have the words to express how much I learned in such a safe space!"
Manon Dance Student (Adult Mental Health First Aid Course)
"After taking this course I feel empowered to spread further awareness about mental health and the needs for our performing art industry and the wider community, as well as to my friends and family."
Jasmine Dancer (Adult Mental Health First Aid Course)
"Even when dealing with really difficult topics everything was handled with care and sensitivity. I really enjoyed learning with you!"
Gemma Director (Youth Mental Health First Aid Course)
"It is a brilliant course, expertly delivered by lovely Kate. It has been such an insightful and useful journey and couldn’t have asked for a better 2 weeks and more! I genuinely couldn’t thank you enough!"
Minal Actor (Adult Mental Health First Aid Course)
"One of the best courses I’ve done in the last few years!"
Adam Stage Manager (Adult Mental Health First Aid Course)
"It was brilliant and totally relevant to working and supporting young people. We were given a clear perspective of the young person’s view and how to support them empathically. Kate’s encouraging and reassuring manner in delivering the course demonstrated the very skills that she was promoting."
Anne-Marie Educator and Trainee Counsellor (Youth Mental Health First Aid Course)