October is Mental Health Month – this time last year we launched SOUND MIND a beautiful music and conversation series exploring mental health and the performing arts during the enduring impacts of COVID-19. SOUND MIND features heartfelt reflections and gorgeous performances from some of our country’s finest performers. If you haven’t yet had a chance to see all six episodes, or if you’d like to see them again, you can revisit them here.
In very special news, we’re honoured to share that Arts Centre Melbourne CEO, Claire Spencer AM, has been nominated for the Australian Mental Health Prize, for the second year running! Claire is among six incredible finalists, all of whom have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Shortlisted largely based on her leadership, guidance and support for the Arts Wellbeing Collective, Claire said:
“I am honoured to be nominated as one of six finalists in this year’s Australian Mental Health Prize, recognising Australians who made outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness
Arts Centre Melbourne established the Arts Wellbeing Collective in collaboration with the performing arts sector in 2017 and we are proud it has provided much needed support to the performing arts community. The impact of the pandemic on those working in the live performance sector is significant and we all have a role to play in creating a future where the performing arts, and our people, can thrive. We were nominated for this prize last year too – and I say “we” because this has always been a tremendous team effort since the AWC was a twinkle in our eye back in 2016.”
This month, the Arts Wellbeing Collective also received a Joint Award in the “Mental Health Promotion /Mental Illness Prevention” category from the Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand. In moments of recognition like these, our thanks go out to all of you – our contributors, friends, members, and supporters. As an industry-led initiative, we could not do what we do without your insights, perspectives and energy taking our sector forward. Thank you!
Recently, Arts Centre Melbourne partnered on Vax The Nation, a campaign encouraging Australians to get vaccinated. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cancellation of thousands of events continues to impede our sector. Vaccination is our way back to a thriving live performance industry – an industry that brings joy to the public, and gives us our livelihoods. Together we can help stop the interruptions. Together we can vax the nation.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our most recent Mental Health Matinee: Building back your confidence. You can catch up on the session and the rest of the series, or view sessions again, here. Our next Mental Health Matinee comes from Chris Cheers and explores emotional agility in times of change, we hope to see you there!
A big shout out as well to everyone who has completed Mental Health First Aid during 2021 so far. As of this month, we have surpassed 300 performing arts workers trained in Mental Health First Aid! This is a big milestone and is reflective of broader moves across the sector to embed and prioritise these valuable skills in creative workplaces.
Wishing you good health, warmth, and creativity,
The team at Arts Centre Melbourne
A lot of us are feeling tired at the moment, and quality sleep is a key component of mental wellbeing. Take some time to unwind and read through our latest resource Sleep Well, full of practical tips and techniques for supporting restful and restorative sleep.
Mental Health Matinée: Emotional agility and dealing with uncertainty
Monday 25 October 2021, 1pm to 2pm
How do we keep going in the arts, when we’re experiencing burnout, hopelessness and the future seems so uncertain? Join arts-focussed psychologist Chris Cheers as he takes this question head on and offers practical strategies for learning to process emotion, focusing on what matters and anchoring ourselves in challenging times. Bring your questions – and your feels – and let’s tackle this uncertain future together. Register now →
Support Act crisis relief grants now available for performing arts workers
The Australian Government through the Office for the Arts recently announced an additional $20 million in funding to expand Support Act’s crisis relief grants to performing arts workers. The grants are valued at $2,000 for individuals and $2,700 for families with dependent children and are available to anyone working professionally in the performing arts, provided they meet a set criteria. More than 1,000 people have already applied for a grant. The grants are not competitive – if you meet the criteria, you will receive the grant. We encourage you to apply if you meet the criteria.
Find out more →
The wonderful folks at Theatre Network Australia held an information session about the Crisis Relief Grants earlier this month – you can watch the session here.
Support Act Wellbeing Helpline
The Helpline is a 24/7, free, confidential phone counselling service available Australia-wide to anyone who usually works in the creative industries. You can make an appointment, or request to speak with an experienced, qualified clinician immediately about any aspect of your mental health and wellbeing.
There is dedicated First Nations support and dedicated support for arts managers and leaders available. Call 1800 959 500, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make an appointment.
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, please contact the Emergency Services on 000.
Find out more →