Acting on the mental health needs of the Australian entertainment industry

In 2018 researchers at Everymind asked small business owners working in the entertainment industry what they believe is needed to improve mental health and wellbeing within their industry. They expressed an urgency around the need to:

  • Address stigma
  • Provide safe and supportive spaces to connect
  • Challenge/report unsupportive attitudes and behaviours
  • Increase supports and access to services
  • Address conditions that can increase psychological risk.

1,621 individuals from a broad range of occupations and roles in entertainment provided input into current wellbeing strategies, and gaps in addressing mental health in the industry. Respondents identified overall, a general absence of supports within the workplace and lack of awareness around mental health issues. Along with this, the accessibility, cost and relevance to entertainment industry workers has been identified as inadequate.

Entertainment industry professionals expressed a desire and need for:

  • Education and training
  • Identifying and managing risk
  • Support services.

Four main recommendations have been made, each can be addressed by individuals, unions/advocacy groups, employers, institutions and governments:

  • Urgent action to improve mental health outcomes for people working in the industry. This can be done by raising concerns with employers, ensuring unions and employers are representative of the industry and open to positive changes, reviewing policies and funding to ensure wellbeing concerns are recognised. The Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment (AAWE) is a cross-sector peer-to-peer initiative, free to join and encourages sharing of knowledge and stories.
  • Improved mental health education for entertainment industry professionals. This can be done by participating in education and training on wellbeing, ensuring training is available, accessible and relevant, increasing and tailoring current wellbeing training, and continuing policy and funding for education for wellbeing in the entertainment industry.
  • Wellbeing strategies should be embedded into professional entertainment practice and policy, to identify and reduce risk. This can be done by participating in activities and programs that support mental health and reduce psychological risk in the workplace, establishing and providing support networks, challenging unsupportive cultures and continuing funding and policy to ensure psychological safety for workers in the entertainment industry.
  • Continue providing tailored wellbeing supports for entertainment industry professionals. This can be done by accessing supports and programs as they become available, ensuring tailored supports are available, accessible and relevant, contributing to advocacy and reducing stigma. And lastly, continuing funding and policy to ensure capacity of those who assist professionals in the entertainment industry reach appropriate supports.

Outcomes of the research and recommendations are provided in report 'Mind your own showbiz' below, representing activities of Everymind and Entertainment Assist with the support of AAWE and The Prevention Hub.

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