News June 18, 2018

Support Act launches music industry’s first helpline

Velvet Winter
Staff Writer
Support Act launches music industry’s first helpline

Last September, the music industry’s top minds met for the Mental Health Summit at BIGSOUND to discuss options to proactively address the rampant mental health issues within our community.

Less than 12 months later, Support Act have announced the launch of their Wellbeing Helpline specifically tailored to assist with the unique mental health problems that research has found to impact music industry workers.

The free and confidential helpline will be staffed by professional counsellors, offering expert advice in all areas related to the music industry and mental health.

Support Act CEO, Clive Miller, said in a press release this morning: “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.

“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.”

The growing mental health crisis within the music community has become a pressing issue, with musicians more the five times more likely to suffer from depression and ten times more likely to present symptoms of anxiety.

A recent study by The New Zealand Music Foundation found that over a third of people within the music industry reported being diagnosed with a mental illness, with depression and anxiety most prevalent within the community.

The study also found that, on average, musicians are earning below minimum wage for a working week of up to 48 hours.

Low or unstable income combined with other factors including a high-stress working environment, lack of fiscal and emotional safety nets and long stretches of time spent away from friends and family have contributed to the rise of mental illness within the industry.

Two industry leaders have partnered up to support the helpline, with The Tony Foundation and Levi Strauss Australia & New Zealand providing valuable seed funding and expertise for the project.

Emily Alert, Executive Officer at The Tony Foundation, praised the quick turnaround for the much-needed service.

“We are thrilled to see this idea brought to fruition in less than 12 months.

“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.”

Nicky Rowsell, marketing manager of Levi Strauss Australia & New Zealand, commented on the potential life-saving aspect of the helpline:

“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.

“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.”

The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline will be accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from today (Monday, 18th June) by calling 1800 959 500 within Australia.

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