Today, September 10th, is National Suicide Prevention Day. It is also R U OK? Day. It’s a day to encourage people to talk about mental health issues, reduce the stigma attached to mental health disorders and, most importantly, encourage people to seek help.
It was therefore very timely for the release of some of the results of a survey by Victoria University, which was conducted in conjunction with Entertainment Assist and funded by the Pratt Foundation, examining mental health issues within the entertainment industry. An article appeared in The Age today with some of the results – and the statistics are alarming.
- 63% of performers earn less than the National Minimum Wage of $34,112.
- 59.5% of entertainment industry workers have sought help for mental health issues.
- 40% of performers have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
- 36% of roadies reported “suicide ideation” in their lifetime.
- 10% of professional singers have attempted suicide.
- The rate of suicide within the entertainment industry is more than double that of the rest of the population.
- Lack of sleep, low pay, drug and alcohol abuse are contributing factors.
This survey of 2900 people has confirmed what was already anecdotally known to those who have lost dear friends to suicide.
Some of the issues facing entertainment industry workers include:
- Shift work and the impact on family
- Low income and financial struggles
- Lack of jobs and uncertainty about the future
Matt Henderson, production stage manager for The Lion King lost three friends to suicide in just 30 hours. He decided it was time for some positive action.
Out From Under is a one night only concert event to be held at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Monday 21st September, to not only raise money for Entertainment Assist and be a great night of entertainment from some of the industry’s best, but also provide some education and get people talking about mental health.
So today, ask someone if they really are okay and wait for the answer.
Let them know you care.
And if you can, buy a ticket to Out From Under or even better yet, buy two and take that friend who just might really need to hear what is shared on the night.
For information about Entertainment Assist: www.entertainmentassist.org.au
Photo credit: Simon O’Dwyer, The Age