Support Act has launched a Wellbeing Helpline, a free and confidential service available to anyone working in Australian music that needs to talk to someone about any aspect of their wellbeing.
The service will also offer specific urgent support for people who may be a risk to themselves or others.
Made possible with support from Alberts’ The Tony Foundation and Levi Strauss Australia, the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is staffed by professional counsellors supported by AccessEAP, a leading not-for-profit Employee Assistance Program provider with close to 30 years experience in mental health and workplace wellbeing.
The counsellors will offer expertise in all areas related to mental health (depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal ideation) as well as issues which can be mental health related (such as loneliness, relationship breakdown, financial worries, illness and workplace conflict).
“The launch of this service is in direct response to requests from our colleagues working in music to help improve overall mental health and wellbeing,” said Clive Miller, CEO Support Act.
“Based on our consultations and research, we believe that a specialised service specifically tailored to the unique challenges faced by artists and music workers will be of enormous benefit to all people working in our industry.”
“We are thrilled to see this idea brought to fruition in less than 12 months under the dynamic leadership of Jo Cave and the team at Support Act,” said Emily Albert, Executive Officer at The Tony Foundation.
“We have gone from initial conversations at the BIGSOUND Mental Health Summit last September around how to best support wellbeing in the music industry, to the helpline being made available this week. Alberts is delighted to have been able to contribute to enabling this vision to become a reality and to making this much needed service available to people working across the music industry in Australia.”
Nicky Rowsell, Marketing Manager of Levi Strauss Australia & New Zealand said “Levi’s is proud to be a part of such an important initiative that will see our local musicians and music industry workers receive Australia’s first mental health and well-being help line. This is a critical first step in a longer journey that Levi’s is heavily invested in; to really give back to the music (and wider) creative community in a meaningful way that we hope will make a real difference. We look forward to continuing to work with Support Act on breaking down stigma and raising awareness around mental health. If this work can help to save lives – then I think we all need to make it a priority to protect the future of the music industry itself.”
In a media release about the launch of the hotline, Support Act stated that musicians are five times more likely to suffer from depression and ten times more likely to show symptoms of anxiety.
There are many contributing factors as to why people working in music are more likely to struggle with mental health issues. As Music Australia’s statistical snapshot from March 2016 pointed out, one of the most common factors currently challenging artists and music workers is low or irregular income. Our snapshot demonstrated that 56 percent of all Australian musicians earn less than $10,000 from their creative income, with only 16 percent earning more than $50,000.
The Wellbeing Hotline is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days per year by calling 1800 959 500 within Australia. More information can be found at www.supportact.org.au