backstage pass – support act e-newsletter august 2019

Welcome to our Winter Newsletter. The end of the financial year provides a timely opportunity to review the impact of our services over the past 12 months. The Board and staff are pleased with progress, especially in relation to the growth of our crisis relief program and the success of the Wellbeing Helpline. The Board is keen for Support Act to develop more prevention programs as funds and resources allow, and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year. As always, please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have feedback, questions or offers of help. 

Support Act Wellbeing Helpline marks first year anniversary

It’s now been just over a year since the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline was established. The service is proving to be a vital resource to the industry. More than 150 artists, road crew and music workers from all genres have accessed the service, utilizing close to 400 counselling hours. The breakdown by segment is 74% Artists, 14% Music Workers and 12% Crew. 54% of Helpline users are under 35 years of age, and just over half are female.

Career concerns head the list of reasons that people have been calling the Helpline, followed by anxiety, depression and other personal issues. The Helpline has also provided support in relation to financial and relationship issues, stress management, health issues, and substance use.  Support Act would like to thank and acknowledge Alberts’ The Tony Foundation for their ongoing support of the Helpline as we enter our second year of service. 


New pilot program extends Helpline access to performing arts workers

We are delighted to announce a new pilot program that extends access to the Wellbeing Helpline to all performing arts workers throughout Australia. The pilot, launched on 18 July, is being implemented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne’s Arts Wellbeing Collective, which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Support Act on this project,” said Claire Spencer, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne. “People in the performing arts experience many of the same mental health challenges as people in the music industry, so it makes sense for us to be directing our resources in support of the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline, as another tool to help ensure that performing arts workers are well equipped to manage the unique environment of this profession.”


Workshops provide tools, tips, and training for common mental health conditions

Support Act and our Wellbeing Helpline provider, AccessEAP, have been running occasional workshops over the past year to help artists, crew and music workers identify the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues, learn how these can be managed, what can be done to help friends and colleagues in need, and how to ensure self-care. We have partnered with APRA AMCOS, ARIA PPCA, the Association of Artist Managers, the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and 4ESydney HipHop Conference to present the 2-hour workshop to their members and delegates, and have been pleased with the positive feedback we have received. We look forward to partnering with the Country Music Association of Australia, Roady4Roadies and other industry groups to further extend the reach of the workshops over the coming months.

Crisis Relief Grants increase by 21%

Our social work team comprising Lindy Morrison and Carina Hillmann responded to 354 requests for help or information in the past 12 months. There were 72 applications for crisis relief with 69 grants awarded for a total expenditure of $351,472. This is 21% higher than for the same period in the previous year. 51 successful applicants were male, 18 were female. 33 successful applications were from New South Wales, 19 from Victoria, 10 from QLD, 2 from SA, 1 each from WA, NT, Tasmania, and 1 application was from overseas. The crises preventing the successful applicants from working in music were accidents (12), cancer (11), mental health problems (6), hip and knee replacements (2), old age (2), dental (2), spinal injuries (2) diabetes (2) and a large range of other conditions. Grants were approved for a range of uses including mortgage, rent, a bariatric day bed, car repairs, medical, dental, vet, food, utilities, phone, spectacles, and for 10 funerals.

Help a Mate Appeals raise much-needed funds for beneficiaries

Support Act’s Help a Mate appeals have grown significantly over the past few years, raising much-needed funds for beneficiaries. Help A Mate provides an opportunity for friends, family and/or work colleagues to raise money for an artist, roadie or music worker who is in need or suffering hardship or distress. This is usually done through a direct appeal, where Support Act will set up a secure online donation facility in the name of the person being helped. Donors can make tax-deductible donations to this appeal via the Support Act website. You can see current Help A Mate appeals on our website.  

Michael and Sue Gudinski and Frontier Touring match donation from Victorian Government

Support Act would like to thank and acknowledge Michael and Sue Gudinski and Frontier Touring for their recent generous donation of $50,000. The donation is a partial match to the Victorian Government’s donation of $100,000 which was made earlier in the year and announced by the Hon. Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries and Minister for Health, at the Roady4Roadies event in Melbourne on 10 March. The Victorian Government’s donation to Support Act was made through the Community Support Fund and builds on their multifaceted $22.2 million Music Works package which is designed to support continued growth in Victoria’s vibrant contemporary music industry. Michael Gudinski’s donation is facilitating the employment of a social worker based in Victoria with a goal to ensure more people in need are able to access the Support Act’s services.

Support Act Crew Survey

Support Act would like to thank everyone who responded to our recent crew survey. The response was fantastic and we have gained many useful insights that will help us to communicate more effectively, and engage more deeply with crew. Our key learnings are that crew are very proud, with an incredible work ethic, and much more comfortable being the problem solvers. They are not always comfortable to seek, or even admit they might need, help. We also learned that crew generally think Support Act is doing a good job, but we should do more, and make more noise about it. We plan to do this. One of our immediate next steps is to reach out to the production companies, associations, promoters, and event managers to seek their support in downloading and distributing our Wellbeing Helpline materials so that they can be displayed in catering or green rooms, dressing rooms and workrooms; on itineraries and schedules; and on websites and intranets. 

AMTD Save the Date

We are pleased to advise that this year’s AusMusic T-Shirt Day (AMTD) will be held on Friday 15 November, and will once again kick off ARIA week activities and be celebrated across triple j and the ABC as part of Ausmusic Month. Please mark the date in your calendar and start planning your team’s participation in the day. AusMusic T-Shirt Day is a chance for everyone who loves music, and the people who create it, to help raise funds for Support Act. This year we are hoping to raise $200,000 to help artists, crew and music workers who are in crisis and/or who need to access our Wellbeing Helpline. Registrations for this year’s AMTD open on 1 October.