The Casting Guild of Australia (CGA) has released a video designed to encourage actors and industry professionals to seek help when they need it and highlight the organisations who are there to support them. The move comes following the CGA’s increasing concern for the mental health and wellbeing of actors affected by the recent round of lockdowns which has led to a devastating demand for assistance.
In launching the video campaign CGA president, David Newman said: “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. There are specific organisations targeted to the entertainment industry that are available to support you.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented interruption to the sector, denying many their ability to work, cover necessary expenses and adequately maintain their health and dignity, with many industry professionals falling between the cracks of government assistance.
National not-for-profit support network, 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.
Says Glenn Hazeldine, Actors’ Benevolent Fund NSW: “Hundreds of workers are critically affected by the recent round of lockdowns, which has led to a devastating demand for assistance.”
Says Sally-Anne Upton, president, VIC Actors’ Benevolent Trust (VABT): “As Victoria enters its 6th ‘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 Agents Associations of Performers and Creatives, ADA NSW and ADAA VIC said: “These past few months, we have seen contracts falling over for too many artists, with borders closing and many in lockdowns. It’s heart-breaking for the arts and for the individuals who are losing their income, opportunity for artistic expression, and a vital connection to community, all of which contributes to enormous challenges to mental health suffered by artists and the arts community, given the collaborative and connective nature of the work. It’s been an extremely tough time for everyone. Ours was the first sector to be shut down when COVID-19 hit. The uncertainty for our artists and creatives has left many in a state of total despair. COVID-19 aside we believe mental health wellbeing is essential to everyone today.”
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 rely on actors and other industry professionals to help tell their stories, to urgently donate.
Says Newman: “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. 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 http://www.supportact.org.au/
Entertainment Assist – 1300 659 467 http://www.entertainmentassist.org.au/
Arts Wellbeing Collective – https://artswellbeingcollective.com.au/get-help/
Alliance of Australasian Performing Arts Benevolent Funds https://aapabf.org
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
TAS – DHHS
ACT – Health ACT