Victoria University have uncovered new research which has found that music industry employees in Australia are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and commit suicide than employees in other sectors.
The pilot study which was funded by The Pratt Foundation and completed by Victoria University’s Dr Julie van den Eynde, Professor Adrian Fisher and Associate Professor Christopher Sonn has been published in The Age.
The Phase I report states that in 2012, the Australian Road Crew Collective identified “70 roadies who had died prematurely, many from suspected suicide.” The study revealed that over 50% of the performing artists interviewed for the study has been subjected to or felt criticism, jealousy and internal and external bullying within the culture of their workplace. One in three said they had sought professional help for their mental health issues and one quarter said they had attempted suicide or experienced “suicide ideation”. The report also found that performing artists receive an average income of $44,600, even though the average Australian salary is $78,800 (according to ABS).
“We all know the famous names who have taken their lives, some have been my friends, but I also know that the roadies are the hardest working and the lowest paid in the industry,” Opitz said. “These people travel and work 16 or 20-hour days, break their bodies and often rely on drugs and alcohol just to get them through. There is no roadies union. There is no-one looking out for these guys, and in many instances we don’t even know what actually happened to them. You know, that truck they were driving that hit a tree on the Hume, was it an accident or not?” – Music producer Mark Opitz (AC/DC, Cold Chisel, INXS) discussing the findings with The Age.
The Age is calling the next phase “the most extensive study of entertainment industry workers undertaken anywhere in the world.”
National charity Entertainment Assist, who support the mental health of Australian Entertainment Industry Workers are now trying to recruit 3000 industry workers to complete an online survey by the end of March. Entertainment Assist have stated the research gathered from the survey will provide an evidence base to encourage funding in this area and better inform the development of tailored mental health support and prevention program.
If you are concerned about mental health issues in our entertainment industry, spread the news of this survey and take 5 mins out of your day to contribute to the research. The survey can be completed here. Let’s work together to combat mental health issues in the Australian entertainment sector.
If you or someone else needs support in a crisis situation please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.