New campaign to support actors’ mental health launched

Concerned for actors’ wellbeing, the Casting Guild of Australia is encouraging industry members to seek help.

A new community service announcement is urging actors – many of whom have struggled with successive lockdowns – to prioritise their mental health.

The video is designed to encourage actors and other industry professionals to seek help when they need it, and highlights the many organisations which exist to support them, including Support Act and the Alliance of Australasian Performing Arts Benevolent Funds.

The video has been released by the Casting Guild of Australia (CGA), following the CGA’s increasing concern for the wellbeing of actors given the recent round of lockdowns, which have led to a devastating demand for assistance.

‘Together with the support of our industry colleagues, we’re urging actors and, indeed, any industry professional to please ask for help in relation to their mental health if they need it,’ said CGA President, David Newman.

‘There are specific organisations targeted to the entertainment industry that are available to support you,’ he stressed.

COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented interruption to the sector. Many actors have been unable to work, resulting in them struggling to cover necessary expenses and adequately maintain their health and dignity.

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The national, not-for-profit support network, the Alliance of Australasian Performing Arts Benevolent Funds, is reaching the point of overwhelming demand for food and grocery vouchers, help with basic utilities and rental support across the country.

Glenn Hazeldine, Actors’ Benevolent Fund NSW said: ‘Hundreds of workers are critically affected by the recent round of lockdowns, which has led to a devastating demand for assistance.’

Victorian Actors’ Benevolent Trust (VABT) President, Sally-Anne Upton said: ‘As Victoria enters its sixth “hard lockdown”, the VABT continues to receive requests for support at unprecedented levels, never-before-seen in our charity’s 63-year history. To date, through our COVID-19 Assistance Fund alone, the VABT has provided in excess of $114,000 in supermarket vouchers; helping to put food on the table and keep pantries stocked at a time when so many are unable to practice their craft and earn an income.’

The CGA is particularly calling on the film, TV, networks, streamers, profile production companies and advertising agencies, who are doing well in the current environment – and which rely on actors and other industry professionals to help tell their stories – to urgently donate.

‘If you work with or rely on actors and industry professionals to tell your stories, we urge you to please make a donation to the Actors Benevolent Fund to support its mission to help provide a safety net for all entertainment industry participants and support workers who are the very foundation of the Australian entertainment industry,’ said Newman.

‘Now is the call to arms moment for the industry to help its own.’

If you need support on any aspect of your mental health and wellbeing, please reach out and ask for help.

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, please contact the emergency services on 000.

Key national Entertainment Industry support services include:

Support Act – 1800 959 500 
Entertainment Assist – 1300 659 467 
Arts Wellbeing Collective  
Alliance of Australasian Performing Arts Benevolent Funds 
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

Support services in your state:

NSW – Health NSW
VIC – Mental Health Victoria
QLD – QLD Health
SA – SA Health
WA – Think Mental Health
WA – My Services
NT – Wellbeing
ACT – Health ACT

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