Season’s Greetings from the Arts Wellbeing Collective (2020)


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Thank you all for your wonderful support across 2020, and as the year draws to a close, it’s heartening to see shows slowly and safely returning to our stages.

Thank you to the hundreds of performing arts workers who have worked with us across the year to produce programs, services and resources designed to promote positive mental health in the performing arts sector. Together, we have developed:

  • COVID-19: Psychosocial Safety Framework: A comprehensive framework to help organisations in the creative sector reopen with psychological safety as a priority alongside physical safety.
  • House Lights Up: A further six episodes of our podcast series, featuring honest conversations with 14 performing arts workers and mental health specialists about the challenges of forging a career in the arts, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Mental Health Matinees: Twelve brand new 60-minute webinars covering a wide range of topics, delivered by subject matter experts.
  • New meditations: Seven new meditations specifically designed for the pressures of 2020, with a focus on compassion, kindness, and hope.
  • Sound Mind: A brand new series of music and conversation exploring mental health and the performing arts, featuring 27 artists across six very special episodes.
  • Spotlight: The Arts Wellbeing Collective magazine, jam-packed with 70 pages of articles and information from more than 40 contributors.

We have also delivered:

  • 7 tailored, accredited Mental Health First Aid courses
  • 16 presentations, panels and interviews
  • 32 specially designed workshops for a variety of member organisations

Importantly, while it hasn’t been possible for all our member organisations, it has been encouraging to see so many take the opportunity to review their practices for promoting positive mental health in the workplace in 2020.

We have had the privilege of working with 20 organisations to develop their strategies and create action plans, and provided specific supports to 42 companies in their journeys to create mentally healthy workplaces. We look forward to working with many more in 2021.

And, in an overwhelming acknowledgment of the work of the Arts Wellbeing Collective, our very own CEO Claire Spencer AM was a finalist for the 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize.

2020 has also seen the expansion of the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline to be available to anyone who works in the creative industries, including the performing arts, music, film, TV, and the visual arts. This 24/7 phone counselling service now also includes a dedicated First Nations Support Line, and a Manager Support Hotline.

The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline and associated services will continue to run 24/7, including Christmas Day and other public holidays. If you’re seeking free, confidential mental health and wellbeing support from a qualified clinician who understands your unique context as a performing arts worker – help is simply a phone call or email away.

The resilience, adaptability, kindness, and compassion shown by everyone in the performing arts industry is humbling and inspiring. We are so grateful for your generosity, commitment and support, and look forward to working with you in 2021.

Wishing you a safe and restful summer.

Kam, Kirsty, Matt, Tracy and Zac
The Arts Wellbeing Collective team

On Tuesday, our Lived Experience Advisory Group gathered at Arts Centre Melbourne for a day of future planning.
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We’ve extended our engagement survey to Sunday 8 May 2022. We’d love to hear from you!