Mental Health Issues Rampant Amongst the Arts

Mental health woes are rife in the arts – and it’s no wonder when creative professionals face such insecure and harsh working conditions. Conditions such as uncertain employment, low pay, financial insecurity, poor working conditions, and often long odd hours. The most concerning contention however, is that workers in the entertainment industry (artists particularly), are constantly being asked to work for FREE! A proposal often presented as "in-kind support" for “exposure” or “portfolio building"; a benefit rarely leading to cash payments that can be used in exchange for food or rent.

A report by Victoria University, Working in the Entertainment Industry, released in August 2015, reveals these shocking and sad statistics about workers in the creative industry.
When compared to the general population, creative professionals are:

  • Three-times more likely to experience sleep disorders;
  • Ten-times more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety;
  • Five times more likely to experience depression symptoms;
  • Have higher rates of suicidal ideation, planning and attempts;
  • And have higher rates of use and misuse of drugs and alcohol.
“It is difficult for people to maintain a healthy sense of self when they {creatives} are consistently told their labor and skills are worth, quite literally, nothing.” says Jennifer Anderson of University of Melbourne.

An Artist's work is deeply personal - a reflection of their collective personality, experiences, tastes, time and talent. It is easy then to understand how industry conditions can, and do, actively undermine ones autonomy, security, confidence and self worth; contributing to a life of depression, anxiety and poor mental health.

What is comforting though, is you are NOT alone. Please connect and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Together we are stronger.

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If you or a loved one are struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Carly Webber

Hello. My name is Carly and I am an award winning photographic artist, teacher + storyteller,
with a deep interest in human potential, vocation, and connection.

I am wife to Lee, and mother to three beautiful young children; two of whom are navigating life with Autism.