New initiative to improve better mental health and wellbeing for Victorian arts workers

Playhouse (rear) - Arts Centre Melbourne - photo by John Gollings Working towards better mental health and wellbeing for Victorian arts workers, Arts Centre Melbourne in partnership with Entertainment Assist have launched the Arts Wellbeing Collective.

Comprising a consortium of close to 90 Victorian arts and cultural organisations whose shared vision is to effect better mental health and wellbeing for Victorian arts workers, the Arts Wellbeing Collective came about as a result of alarming statistics revealed in Victoria University’s study commissioned by Entertainment Assist, Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry: Final Report.

“Our industry is made up of creative, dedicated, hard-working people, and the mental and physical wellbeing of our team members is absolutely paramount,” said Claire Spencer, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne. “We are committed to proactive, preventative action to better address mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts, and hope that the Arts Wellbeing Collective is a strong first step to achieving positive change.

“It has been developed collectively by partners have recognised need for the creation of formal networks within the industry – linking people together to improve wellbeing and combat mental health issues in the sector collectively and systemically, rather than addressing them individually,” added Spencer.

Developed by Arts Centre Melbourne in close consultation with psychologists and relevant experts including provisional psychologist and renowned performing artist Greta Bradman and prominent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, the pilot program will feature workshops, training, resources, and a dedicated website all specifically tailored to the needs of the arts sector, as well as resources from positive psychology to help improve understanding of mental health issues, their prevention and treatment.

“The Arts Wellbeing Collective pilot program is aimed at providing some of the tools from the field of psychology, as well as inspiring a sense that good mental health and taking care of your wellbeing is so worthwhile in the performing arts environment,” explained Greta Bradman.

The pilot program will focus on the particular vulnerabilities of performing arts workers with a range of tools, services and activities to support performing arts organisations and their workers. Workshops will be in held in Melbourne as well as throughout regional Victoria and are aimed at performing arts workers across the sector including freelancers, managers, dramaturgs, playwrights, mechanists, producers, artists, venue staff, presenters as well as service organisations and major institutions.

“Entertainment Assist is excited to be working with Arts Centre Melbourne and believes the Arts Wellbeing Collective will provide much needed resources for industry employers to support the wellbeing of their workers,” said Susan Cooper, General Manager Entertainment Assist.

Membership of the free pilot program is open to organisations, as well as individuals and new members, who can complete an Expression of Interest form on the Arts Wellbeing Collective website. For more information,visit: www.artswellbeingcollective.com.au for details.

Image: Stage view of the Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne – photo by John Gollings (supplied)

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