An extensive study of Australia’s arts and entertainment industry found that “25% of performing artists and over 50% of ‘behind the scenes’ technical and support crews had attempted or considered suicide.”

Levels of symptoms related to depression are five times higher in those in the arts than in the general population, with “moderate to severe anxiety symptoms” ten times higher.

With those bleak stats in mind, Allianz and Arts Centre Melbourne have developed the Arts Wellbeing Collective – a “one year prevention and early intervention pilot program to support mental health and wellbeing in the arts and entertainment industry.” The program launched yesterday in Melbourne, and runs through to November.

Helen Silver, Allianz Chief General Manager Workers Compensation, said of the program, “The statistics are alarming and this project is particularly close to my heart because I’ve been involved in the arts myself for many years,

“The story is so unknown. The public, for good reason, enjoy all the arts have to offer but behind all of it are some really worrying mental health issues.”

If you or somebody you care for needs help or information about depression, suicide, anxiety, or mental health issues, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.