News September 4, 2018

Entertainment Assist GM Susan Cooper steps down

Entertainment Assist GM Susan Cooper steps down

Susan Cooper has stepped down as general manager of Entertainment Assist, after nine years with the association that works for the well-being of people performing and working in the Australian entertainment sector.

Cooper was the organisation’s first general manager.

She came from a background in promoting festivals, directing and producing theatrical productions, marketing, graphic design and photography.

She managed the Kingston Arts Centre for nine years and was managing director of Paragon United Artists.

Entertainment Assist chairperson David G Mann AM, paid tribute to her achievements while at the helm.

“Susan orchestrated a world-first industry-wide research project that revealed shocking facts about the wellbeing of Australia’s entertainment industry people compared to the general population – suicide attempts are more than double, moderate to severe anxiety is 10 times higher, and depression 5 times higher.

“Her work has raised awareness of the psychological risk of working in the entertainment industry.

“The research has inspired national and international organisations, individuals and educational institutions to conduct further studies and develop industry-specific wellness programs to effect systemic change.”

Cooper also guided the formation of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment, an Entertainment Assist cross-sector peer-to-peer initiative, for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry.

The Wellness Alliance was formed in collaboration with the industry’s peak bodies and sector representatives.

Mann noted, “She was also integral in having the mental health of the entertainment industry recognised in the Parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of Australia’s film & television industry.

“The Inquiry’s final report, published in Dec 2017, recognised our industry people are in distress.

“With most of our workforce consisting of freelancers and thus small business owners, the report recommended the Minister for Small Business consult with our industry to address the issues.”

He listed Cooper’s other achievements as the development of Entertainment Assist’s mental health training program, Intermission, and delivering mental health information sessions to industry workplaces, educational institutions and industry conferences.

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