The crooked old man was shunned from his village. Ridiculed, mocked, declared clinically insane. All this for his animated passion of colour and sounds, and the way the light hit the lake at sunrise. It was once not uncommon to hear the plight of the struggling artist, who suffered for their craft and created their greatest works in the times of their deepest despair. And look, that’s cool if that works for you….but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.
Creativity is part of a well balanced diet… nutrition for the soul. Where feelings can be flung onto a page, shaken out of the body. Hummed, glued, carved, splotched, scribbled out of our humanness, in the honour of creative experience and resonance. Where we can freely and truly express our most intimate secrets and scream from the depths of our raging bones.
Its for this reason the following research staggered me…
Entertainment Assist in association with College of Arts at Victoria University have conducted some epic research studies, indicating some confronting statistics regarding rates of poor mental health within the Australian creative industries.
- Suicide attempts for Australian Entertainment Industry workers are more than double that of the general population.
- The levels of moderate to severe anxiety symptoms are 10 times higher than in the general population.
- The levels of depression symptoms are five times higher than in the general population.
Considering mental health concerns already impact ONE in FOUR Australians sometime in their life…these results are pretty damn mind boggling!
Some day to day stressors can be blamed partly for these figures within the creative arts world, such as:
- Long hours and limited / inconsistent sleep patterns
- Unstable, uncertain work projects/contracts/buyers/audiences
- and therefore inconsistent finances / limited funds
- Isolation / or other relationship factors due to points above
- Stressful working environments (all those egos and deadlines)
- Perfectionism / rejection / shame
- Weird expectations of what “being an artist” means
And that’s just to name a few.
So, my humble life mission is to pull out the rug from underneath the creative arts culture in Australia and make us remember what really matters beneath the facade of bright colours, glitz, glamour, perceived success, “making it”, the fabulous show, the beautiful product, the trending jacket, the masterpiece of art…..
It’s…being human. Our humanness matters. People matter. You matter. Art is a form of communication in which people can express feelings, invite thought, open minds, make claims, advocate for, offer beauty, normalise darkness, enquire into hearts. It is an expression of our humanness, an opportunity to meet ourselves and thrive. Art itself is a wellness strategy. One in which we are not utilising appropriately.
This space provides artists stories, community, mental wellness resources, articles, inspo and events. As creative thinkers, feelers, movers, makers, shakers, innovators…you have the means, tools and talents to explore the shit out of your trials and tribulations. But we can’t always do it alone…in fact, we were never meant to.
Together, we can normalise anxiety and depression in the creative industries. Flip the damn lid on what it means to experience challenging emotions and use that juiciness to create a culture of community and wellness.