Support Act Wellbeing Helpline marks first year anniversary

Stats show all sections of industry are using the Helpline;
service now extended to include performing arts workers

For release – Tuesday, 6 August 2019: It’s just over a year since the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline was established to provide free, confidential phone counselling to people working in Australian music who need to talk about any aspect of their mental health or wellbeing.

The service has proven to be a vital resource to the industry, with statistics from the first year confirming that more than 150 artists, road crew and music workers from all genres have accessed the service, utilising close to 400 counselling hours.

The breakdown by sector is 74% Artists, 14% Music Workers and 12% Crew with 54% of Helpline users being under 35 years of age, and just over half are female.

“We are very happy with the take up rate, and the feedback from service users has been extremely positive,” said Clive Miller, CEO of Support Act. “Having a dedicated helpline that is staffed by friendly, qualified clinicians who understand the challenges of working in the music industry can be an enormous help to someone who is struggling with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal feelings; or issues which can be mental health related such as loneliness, relationship breakdown, financial worries, illness and workplace conflict.”

Career concerns head the list of reasons that people from the music industry have been calling the Helpline, followed by Anxiety, Depression and other personal issues. The Helpline has also provided support in relation to Financial and Relationship issues, Stress Management, Health issues and Substance Use.

It has been well documented that people in the music and creative industries experience symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety and depression at rates that can be 5-10 times higher than the general population.

This has led to the development of a new pilot program, launched on 18 July that extends access to the Wellbeing Helpline to all performing arts workers throughout Australia. The pilot is being implemented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne’s Arts Wellbeing Collective, which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Support Act on this project,” said Claire Spencer, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne. “People in the performing arts experience many of the same mental health challenges as people in the music industry, so it makes sense for us to be directing our resources in support of the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline, as another tool to help ensure that performing arts workers are well equipped to manage the unique environment of this profession.”

The Helpline is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days per year by calling 1800 959 500 within Australia. You can also email Support Act and a clinician will call you back.

The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is made possible through support from Alberts’ The Tony Foundation and Levi Strauss Australia. The Arts Wellbeing Collective receives funding from WorkSafe Victoria’s Mental Health Improvement Fund, which aims to make mental health and wellbeing a priority in the workplace.

The Helpline is implemented by AccessEAP, a leading not-for-profit Employee Assistance Program provider with close to 30 years’ experience in mental health and workplace wellbeing.

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For further information, please contact Clive Miller – 0411 101052 / cmiller@supportact.org.au