Arts Wellbeing Collective launches ground-breaking guide to improve mental health

Arts Wellbeing Collective launches ground-breaking guide to improve mental health
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Arts Wellbeing Collective has recently just released its Work All Guide to help improve mental health in the performing arts industry.

Founded in 2017 by Arts Centre Melbourne, the collective was created as a preventative health initiative in response to concerning research from Entertainment Assist and Victoria University.

The 2017 research found that of the entertainment industry workers surveyed, from performers to producers, and directors, 44 per cent experienced symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety, and 15 per cent experienced symptoms of moderate to severe depression.

The release of the guide also aligns with growing concern from the recently commissioned May 2022 research by Support Act, Mental Health and Wellbeing in Music and Live Performing Arts Survey, which discovered that psychological distress, suicidality, and mental health conditions are significantly more prevalent in the industry.

In order to create a succinct guide, the Arts Wellbeing Collective has continued to draw on the expertise of the performing arts community, including the establishment of a Lived Experience Advisory Group, and a multitude of health professionals.

The majority of the resources were also created with funding from WorkSafe Victoria WorkWell.

“The Work Well Guide offers a truly comprehensive, practical and honest guide tailor-made for the performing arts in Australia,” creative producer, curator, arts facilitator, and member of the collective’s Lived Experience Advisory Group, Erica McCalman said.

“It is a welcome addition to the rehearsal studio, board room or production office, and I invite anyone whose life and work is about creating great art to have a read and incorporate the guide’s recommendations into their practice.”

The guide will also inform readers of the case for change, definition of mental health, the role of leadership, and how to create a vision and strategic actions for developing a mentally healthy workplace and industry.

While it remains a priority to be informative, the intention of the guide is to also be supportive and encouraging and provide an environment that is safe in its approach to creating connections.

In addition to the guide, a workplace training unit called Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces will also be launched in 2023, using the guide as foundation for supporting performing arts organisations.

The guide is free to download from the Arts Wellbeing Collective website.

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Photo caption: Arts Wellbeing Collective.

Photo: Pier Carthew.

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