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Support Act launches new Wellbeing Helpline

Music industry charity, Support Act, has announced the launch of its Wellbeing Helpline. The free, 24-hour-a-day service is available for anybody in Australian music to use. On the other end of the phone will be professional counsellors giving help in all areas of mental illness, addiction and suicidal ideation, as well as issues related to mental health, such as workplace conflict, loneliness and financial worries.

The helpline is being funded with help from Alberts’ The Tony Foundation and Levi Strauss Australia. Support Act have previously worked with mental health issues in the roadie section of the industry, in their joint venture with ARCA.

There is a similar helpline for musicians based in New Zealand, which was found to have a suicide rate twice that of the normal population.

CEO of Support act, Clive Miller comments: “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.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with SUPPORT ACT on breaking down stigma and raising awareness around mental health.”

“We are thrilled to see this idea brought to fruition in less than 12 months under the dynamic leadership of Jo Cave and the team at Support Act,” says Emily Albert, executive officer at the Tony Foundation. “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. 

“Alberts is delighted to have been able to contribute to enabling this vision to become a reality and to making this much needed service available to people working across the music industry in Australia.”

Nicky Rowsell, marketing manager of Levi Strauss Australia & New Zealand, adds: “Levi’s is proud to be a part of such an important initiative that will see our local musicians and music industry workers receive Australia’s first mental health and well-being help line. 

“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. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with Support Act on breaking down stigma and raising awareness around mental health. 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.”

To access the helpline, please call 1800 959 500 within Australia, or click here to go to the Support Act homepage.


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NZ Music Fdn Wellbeing Service marks successful year 1

The New Zealand Music Foundation Wellbeing Service, a telephone, online and in-person counselling service for people working in live and recorded music, is celebrating a successful first year in operation, during which time it has received nearly 90 calls from more than 40 New Zealanders on its freephone 0508 MUSICHELP line.

The service was established in late September 2016 in response to the results of the foundation’s NZ Music Community Wellbeing Survey, which found that Kiwis in the music industry were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide than the general population, more than three times as likely to indicate positively for problem alcohol use and that 84% had experienced stress in the preceding 12 months that affected their ability to function day to day.

It offers a free, 24/7 helpline in both New Zealand and Australia and professional counselling from registered practitioners, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ practice experience and a demonstrated record of counselling provision to those working in the creative industries.

The charity classifies the cases it addresses as minor, medium or major. Over the past year:

NZ Music Foundation general manager Peter Dickens (pictured) says: “We’re very proud to have been able to provide vital support and counselling in this way over the last year. […]

“Our research told us that setting up an accessible, affordable, tailored service was an essential step if we were to tackle the issue of mental health and wellbeing in Kiwi music people. We intend to continue to reach out to all people making live and recorded music possible in NZ who need this service.”

“The information the NZ Music Foundation has uncovered is important because it means we can start talking to and educating younger generations so they can be safeguarded for the future – something the charity is very proactive in doing,” adds Ben Howe, managing director of Flying Nun Records.

“In addition to the conversation the survey has initiated and education around that, the NZ Music Foundation Wellbeing Service has done a fantastic job in supporting, assisting and advising where people in music have been in crisis or in difficult situations. It is an essential job and they have been very helpful to us.”

The NZ Music Foundation’s research tallies with similar studies in AustraliaBritainNorway and more that show musicians and other industry professionals are more likely to suffer with depression, anxiety and other psychiatric problems than the general population. British charity Help Musicians UK, meanwhile, earlier this week released the second phase of its Can Music Make You Sick? report into music-industry mental health in the UK.


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