Shocking figures show the arts industry is in pain. How can we take care of each other?

This week, the arts and entertainment industries have been reporting on the new figures released by Entertainment Assist and Victoria University that reveal serious, shocking truths about the health and wellbeing for peope who work on all levels of the Australian entertainment industry.  7k0a0619

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties, you can call Lifeline anytime on 13 11 14.

The Facts

The report provides startling, sobering stasticis on a range of health and lifestyle issues from a survey of 2904 arts workers across the following categories: performing artists and music composers; performing arts support workers; and broadcasting, film and recorded media equipment operators. Here are a few of them:

  • Entertainment industry workers suffer sleep disorders and insomnia at far greater rates than the general population
  • 35% of all industry workers earn an annual industry income below $20,000, and 59.9% of industry workers could not raise $2000 from their networks in an emergency
  • There is a powerful, negative culture within the industry including a toxic, bruising work environment; extreme
    competition; bullying; sexual assult; sexism and racism.
  • There are high levels of mental health problems and suicidality in the industry: 44% of industry workers have moderate to severe anxiety; depression symptom levels are five times higher in industry workers than in the general population; overall 59.5% of entertainment industry workers have sought professional assistance for their mental health issues
  • Suicide attempts for Australian Entertainment Industry workers are more than double that of the general population; in the last twelve months Road Crew members experienced suicide ideation almost 9 times more than general
    population;  in the last twelve months Australian Entertainment Industry Workers experience suicide ideation from 5-7 times more than the general population and 2-3 times more over a lifetime.

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties, you can call Lifeline anytime on 13 11 14.

nicely-dressed-woman-using-her-phone-in-a-car-picjumbo-comWhere can we find help?

Entertainment Assist aims to help people overcome the pitfalls of the Australian Entertainment Industry, through support programs and services, active engagement through its community and fundraising.  More recently, in response to the statistics on mental illness and suicide in the entertainment industry, Entertainment Assist has made a strategic decision to focus on mental health.

Their website is a blessing of resources for someone who is struggling. By visiting their ‘Need Help?’ section you will find resources for:

  • Times when you’re at immediate risk of harming yourself
  • Feeling suicidal or concerned about someone who is
  • Just talking to someone about your mental health
  • Information and online self-help programs
  • Drug and alcohol resources
  • Relationship services
  • General health services

The resources section of the site also offers cases studies; information on financial assistance; how to access mental healthcare services; useful apps; and business resources.

Inspiring stories: you’re not alone

AussieTheatre is a part of the entertainment industry, with a slate of staff, contributors, and readers from every corner of the arts world. We also love our artists, and arts and entertainment workers, dearly.

As a result of this, we often talk about health, wellness, and illness, overcoming hardship, and more. Here are some articles that might inspire you, lift you spirits, help you make a plan, or make you feel a little less alone.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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