Earlier this year Entertainment Assist released some critical research findings on individual wellbeing and mental heath in the Australian arts and entertainment industry which TNN reported on in July [How Are You?]. Although shocking and saddening, this research is also extremely valuable and useful because it provides us all with a better awareness of the issues and how we might help ourselves and one another. 

Since July TNN has been liaising with its key stakeholders and its Associates to establish what is already being done in this area, what needs to be addressed and how TNN can assist to improve wellbeing and mental health support in our sector.

MEAA’s Equity Wellness Committee was launched in the latter half of this year as a response to the strong findings in the Entertainment Assist, Actor’s Health and Wellbeing and Australian Actors Wellbeing Study reports and to start to setting in place an agenda to put performers’ physical and mental wellbeing at the forefront of all Equity activities. Further discussions have been held as part of The Equity Foundation’s Diversity Summit in Melbourne this month.

Entertainment Assist, Equity Wellness Committee, Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH) and Live Performance Australia are the natural industry representatives to take this important issue forward. But many of the NSW theatre industry are working on this either at an individual or company level and TNN has had EOI’s from quite a few of its Associates to participate in a working group on this matter.

TNN is working with key stakeholders to develop a NSW industry-led forum for 2017 that can facilitate individual and collective responses to our industry’s wellbeing and ensure that this is integrated into what is happening nationally or internationally. TNN is aware of individual companies and organisations such as Urban Theatre Projects and MilkCrate Theatre taking the initiative on mental health awareness with their stakeholders through training, dedicated social working staff, workshops and mental health policies. Ben Steel has just released the promo for his documentary The Show Must Go On which will trigger new and long overdue discussions in our sector. 

What else do we want to raise at a NSW Theatre Forum on Wellbeing?

The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Mental Health Best Practice Guidelines implemented for the legal community provide an interesting framework from which to investigate. Could we develop a similar set of guidelines for our own performing arts community? What would be the ramifications of this for day to day operations?

There are a variety of theatre industry professionals and organisations working across wellbeing but what training or support does our sector need to improve the wellbeing of its workers and does this require some form of subsidy in order to be picked up.

How do we chip away at a longer term cultural shift in our industry so that we can better support each other’s wellbeing?

Which companies have an Employee Assistance Service that provides psychological services to its employees? Which companies have a mental health policy?

If you have any information or suggestions that you would like TNN to share and consider when working on this matter please don’t hesitate to contact Jane Kreis, Director on director@tnn.org.au

It’s OK to talk and ask for help. 

If you are experiencing mental health issues, you are not alone.

Entertainment Assist’s research has shown that 1 in 3 people in the entertainment industry experience mental health issues and most people don’t know how to seek support.

If you are at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact:
Emergency Services on 000.

If you are feeling suicidal or concerned about someone who is, please call:
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. Available 24/7.

If you would like to talk to someone about your mental health, please call:
beyondblue on 1300 22 4636. Available 24/7.

For other services, click on the links here at Entertainment Assist’s Help Page


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