The Australian live business has been warned the findings of a workforce survey should serve as a wake-up call to the state of mental health in the sector.
Participants in the first Mental Health and Wellbeing in Music and Live Performing Arts study included musicians, songwriters, production crew, managers and producers, with 66% of those surveyed reporting high-to-very high levels of psychological distress – four times greater than the general population.
Conducted this past March and April by the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, in conjunction with music charity Support Act, the study has identified the need for further improvements in the creative industries.
“PARTICIPANTS IN THIS RESEARCH IDENTIFIED A NEED FOR FURTHER FINANCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WORKING IN MUSIC”
“Participants in this research identified a need for further financial and mental health support for people working in music and live performing arts, as well as a need for broader change within the sector and government support to enable this,” says research fellow at the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, Dr Aurora Elmes.
“People want to see action towards improved working conditions and work environments that are safe for everyone’s mental and physical health.”
Covid-19 was a common factor in the results, with more than 47% of respondents losing their jobs as a result and almost two-thirds saying the pandemic had impacted their mental health. In addition, 61% said it had affected their feeling of being part of an industry community, and 56% noted increased feelings of loneliness or social isolation.
Dr Elmes adds that the research indicates that people in music and live performing arts continue to face job insecurity and work environments that can be unsafe for physical or mental health.
“IT REVEALS THE ONGOING EFFECTS OF ADDED STRESSORS ARISING FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC”
“On top of existing issues with working conditions, it reveals the ongoing effects of added stressors arising from the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s work, income, social connectedness, and mental health,” she says.
Additional findings from the survey of more than 1,300 industry professionals included that 35% reported a current mental health condition, 29% reported having an anxiety condition, and 27% reported having depression – all well above the national average.
More than a third reported incomes from their work in music/live performing arts as less than AUS$30,000 per annum, and only 15% said they always felt safe at work.
Read the full report here.
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