Support Act Survey : Mental Health In The Music Industry

Support Act Survey : Mental Health In The Music Industry

Aug 2022
Emma Olrik

In the music industry, we know firsthand the unique mental health challenges being faced, even before the pandemic came along. We’re so proud to work with Support Act to help them promote their crisis relief services which are available to all members of the music industry.

What was the survey?

Over March and April of this year, Support Act conducted a study about mental health in the music industry, in collaboration with the Centre of Social Impact (Swinburne University). Here’s how it went:

  • 1.3K industry workers across Australia took part
  • The results were shown at Support Act’s first ever Head First conference that we were lucky enough to attend
  • The aim of the survey was to show the current state of wellbeing of people working in music and live performing arts in Australia (considering COVID-19), the factors that are currently impacting their work and lives, and identify the types of support and services that are needed to make a difference

Current mental health in the music industry

In 2016, Entertainment Assist undertook a study that found people working in the Australian performing arts and entertainment industry experience higher rates of mental health symptoms, drug and alcohol use, and suicidality than the general population. Unfortunately over the last 6 years, these statistics haven’t improved. In the most recent survey, it was found that:

  • 66% of participants had either high / very high levels of psychological distress. 27% reported currently having depression.
  • 59% experienced suicidal thoughts (this is over 4.5x the proportion of the general Australian population).
  • Over half of participants said that they used drugs and alcohol to cope with the stresses of the industry (25% of these had tried to cut down, control or stop their use and were unsuccessful). 

Since the pandemic these figures have continued due to reduced income, increased financial stress and disrupted career development, amongst others. For example, 47% of people that took part lost their jobs because of lockdown. 

What now?

These figures highlight the need for more discussion and resources around mental health for those in the industry.

One thing that the music industry will always be great at is collaboration. Here’s some examples:

  • Survey participants commented how positive relationships and support from people in their lives made the biggest difference to their mental health. 
  • Support Act offer a Wellbeing Helpline ⁠— a free, confidential, round the clock counselling service for anyone working in Australian music or the arts. 
  • You can also check out the mental health resources page on their website, which offers articles, videos, app and book recommendations. 

We love working with Support Act and helping to highlight all of the incredible work they do. Make sure to look after yourselves, we’re all in this together 🍟