新萄京娱乐 Wellness Committee

“The reports speak for themselves; people are suffering for their ‘art’ and they just don’t have to.”

February 14, 2024

Responding to mental distress — the first step to mental health support

How do you identify someone who isn’t coping well? How should you approach them? A new two-hour workshop from the Arts Wellbeing Collective introduces common mental health problems and equips you with basic techniques to enable supportive conversations at work. Read full story here. 

February 1, 2024

Keeping your eyes on the prize

Setting goals is one thing but achieving them is rarely straightforward. Counsellor Sophie Carter’s timely advice on how to make 2024 a year of enhanced creativity and opportunity will set you up to hit the ground running. Read full story here. 

September 27, 2023

Nurturing creativity through grief 

Navigating the non-linear journey of grief can feel overwhelming, but if you give yourself space, compassion and permission to authentically feel it, you may find the healing process brings with it heightened levels of creativity, writes Laura Pike. Read full story here. 

July 5, 2023

Awakening Wellness: The importance of intimacy coordinators
by Michala Banas

The demand for Intimacy Coordinators has been ever-increasing as the industry continues to recognise just how vital the role is when it comes to supporting the creation of intimate content on our screens and stages.

Working over the last 5 years as both one of Australia’s first trained IC’s (Intimacy Coordinators) and as an actor, I’ve been heartened to see productions welcoming this still fairly new role into the workplace. IC’s are definitely making productions safer. Not just for the actors involved, but also for the crew and production team.

But what exactly does an IC do? When I talk to people outside of the Entertainment industry about IC work, the way I best describe the role of the Intimacy Coordinator is that they support a production by providing a safe, professional environment and clear structure and process for the choreography of intimate content.
In the same way that a stunt coordinator is engaged to realise a scene with physical risk, the IC is engaged to realise a creative, repeatable, and safe intimate scene.

With IC’s now having several years of in-field experience and feedback, what we have come to know is that the best outcome for all departments, the production as a whole, and the quality of the work that gets put to an audience, is when IC’s are engaged EARLY.

Ideally at the start of pre-production (for screen), or before rehearsals even begin (for stage). It is also immensely helpful when a production delivers a solid briefing about how the IC’s role integrates throughout, and ensures engaging the IC is not a last minute addon, which can often cause potential confusion or misunderstanding across departments.

Understandably, with the steady growth and increasing demand for this role in the industry, there is a buzz and eagerness among many people wanting to further their skills, and train in this field. What we now need to focus on in Australia is creating pathways that extend from, or exist in parallel to, the international training streams. We need highly trained people who are skilled in all facets of what this work entails. What is often seen or even assumed of our work, is just the very tip of the ice berg of what is involved in being an IC.

For the most part, IC’s are being welcomed onto productions with open arms and a huge sense of relief across the board. So many people are feeling grateful knowing that intimate content (which has often been anything from uncomfortable to traumatising in the past), is being managed, supported and created so safely. IC’s really are a part of changing industry culture in a positive way.

For more info, please take a look at the 新萄京娱乐 Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen.

*Thank you to Intimacy Coordinator Amy Cater for being my sounding board and providing immense wisdom and some sage words to this article.

June 28, 2023

Avoiding the tedium of Groundhog Day

While being part of a long-running show has obvious advantages, there’s a danger that the repetition can trigger a switch to autopilot, resulting in anxiety and disconnection. Counsellor, coach and member of the Equity Wellness Committee Sophie Carter has some great advice on how to keep it fresh and not become prey to what she calls ‘long-showitis’.

Read here article in the latest Equity Magazine here.

March 21, 2023

Entertainment Health Database updated 

The Entertainment Health Database is a national list of GPs, Psychiatrists and Psychologists who have self-identified as having a special interest in or affiliation with the arts and/or artists. We hope that this list makes it simpler for members of the arts and entertainment community to take the next step in finding mental health support, whether at home or on tour. Please note: 新萄京娱乐 does not endorse or recommend any of the professionals listed on the Health Database. It is intended only as a guide to get you started and does not substitute for your own research. You can find our Health Database here.

February 28, 2023

Awakening Wellness: Your Power
by Bessie Kay

When it comes to wellbeing and your personal view, what do you wish you could tell your younger self?

Hypothetically, If you were part of the 1985 film Back to the Future and you got your hands on the keys to the DeLorean, to what year would you set the dial and what would you say to enlighten yourself?

My name is Bessie, I’m an ex professional dancer, currently working in media and TV production, and I’m a mum to two young girls. In a way, raising my like minded creative daughters is similar to having the keys to that Hollywood time machine. I began to realise that every comment I made about my body in their presence, or the attitude I had about myself in general, healthy or otherwise, started to become the foundation of their inner belief about themselves also.

Though I can’t physically go back and change my past, I can use the lessons learned in my life and sew them into a younger generation, in hope to undo any wrong personal beliefs that can be developed within a competitive and creative industry. So here goes!

From one performer to another. Someone so motivated to achieve, so passionate about an industry and finding their place within it. I wish somebody could have told me when I was younger that all bodies aren’t the same. There is no such thing as the perfect shape, skin tone, height, type of hair, or way to be. No person in this world is designed the same. When you wrap your head around that fact and embrace the very nature in which you exist, you’ll see how well you’ve been created and I hope you learn to honour and enjoy that fact.

I wish I could take back the years that I spent so desperately trying to fit in and be chosen. Little did I know that I had to choose myself first, and that needing to fit in can be a dangerous goalpost. Where I was quick to invest in new photos, websites, classes and all the things young performers need to look the part, I really needed to invest in finding and knowing my identity first and building from there.

Young one, there will be times in your career when your worth seems like it’s in the hands of someone else’s opinion of you, but it’s not. There may be an illusion that could make you believe that you’ll be whole simply by having that role, job or perfect appearance, but you won’t.

It’s ok to feel weary and sometimes lost in comparison. The culture of this world can do that to a person, but please don’t stay there in those thoughts for long, or on your own.

Instead, rest, take time to heal the fractured parts of yourself and find a community to help you grow healthy. Enjoy the journey of learning who you are and your power within, and be grateful for every part of you because you and your body are precious.

If I could go back to tell my younger version something, it would be to know and love who you are, more than you know and love what you do for work.

You are one of a kind, so be kind to yourself creative one! x

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook and Instagram for more great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee

November 23, 2022

Awakening Wellness: Turning Vices Into New Habits

It’s well known that eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are great for our health and give us balance which filters to our mental health keeping us aligned and thus giving us a lift to our mood!

In hectic schedules and busy lives, it can be hard to always maintain these good habits. Maybe you’ve been considering for a while…I’d love to quit sugar, alcohol, caffeine etc. But there’s never a right time. Maybe now is the right time? Some people also love to set themselves new year resolutions. Why not start yours now?

Have you ever thought about quitting one of your vices for a day, a week or even a month? It might be alcohol, coffee, sugar, fast foods or even smoking. Break your usual routine and today go outside of that by eliminating one of these things and replacing it with a healthy alternative.

Keep a little journal if you can or even just write in a notebook or on your phone what your goal was and how it made you feel by the end of the day.

Here’s some examples or ideas: If it’s coffee, try a herbal tea, or Kombucha. Alcohol, try a fresh juice or smoothie. Fast foods, grab some sushi or a salad. Smoking, try something else with your fingers like a fidget or maybe chew some gum?

Most of all, have fun with it! You might even find that you like the change and you stick with it. The biggest aim of all is that you feel more balanced and aligned and be able to find Joy in all that you do.

Note: If you have any health conditions, it’s strongly advised that you consult with your GP first before removing anything from your diet without being under supervision.

By Kathy Lepan-Walker, Co-chair EWC

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook and Instagram for more great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee

October 12, 2022

Awakening Wellness: Creative Outlets for Increased Happiness

Where did your love of creative expression come from? Was it passed down through tradition, culture, religion, or family? Were you self-taught? Guided by a friend, or encouraged to learn something new after being inspired by a colleague? Every one of us has a story, a moment where we can recall learning to paint, sew, knit, to do tapestry, jigsaws, write, cook, pottery, sculpture, textiles, jewellery making, watercolour, find a passion for gardening, sustainability, play an instrument, take dance classes, the list goes on. We are all creative people, whether we’re working on, behind, under or in front of a set or a stage, and our creativity reaches far beyond our jobs within the industry.

Most crafts require an element of meticulous concentration and repetition, sometimes for long periods of time. This activity allows our brains to slow down, de-clutter, recover and escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. It allows us to widen our imaginations, opening new and exciting possibilities. We can get into a sense of ‘flow’, deepening our inner peace, where all that matters is the task at hand, and before we know it, hours can slip by. Whether you choose to relax alone or surround yourself with like-minded individuals, taking up a hobby has proven to be successful in reducing stress, focussing our minds, creating a sense of fulfilment, and increasing happiness. This in turn can improve our overall quality of life.

In a world so dominated by the digital age, with our phones, iPads, or computers always within arm’s reach, more and more people are choosing to step away from their screens and embrace these creative outlets.

It’s as if we have turned back the clock, allowing ourselves time in our day or week to spend working on a project like our parents, or their parents used to do. Craft has become cool again and there are now groups of people who meet regularly to, shall we say, ‘stitch and bitch’, whilst also creating more social connections. Remember, it’s not always about excelling in your chosen hobby or feeling the need to produce something of quality. It should be more about taking up something you enjoy, find relaxing and one in which you look forward to coming back to. Taking this time out for yourself on a regular basis allows you to practice mindfulness techniques without even realising it. That is an achievement. Over time, certain hobbies could even generate a new source of income, offering new employment opportunities.

Many members of the EWC have found an immense sense of joy, freedom, creative expression, and escape in their chosen hobbies. Below they share a picture of their work and how they have benefited from having this creative outlet in their lives.

Tiffany Knight

I was taught how to knit by our wigs mistress during a summer performing Shakespeare in rep. Years later, my husband gave me a spinning wheel for my birthday. These socks are spun from the fleece of Baa Baa, the celebrity sheep I performed alongside in A Sunburnt Christmas a few years ago.

Tim Minturn

This took a month to put together and got me through the first lock down! As a kid, Star Wars and Lego were my thing, and at 50, I guess they still are!

Matt Young

I’ve always enjoyed handwritten journaling, in a messy cursive. It serves as a written meditation. A chance to clear the mind and focus on the greater tasks at hand. I put pen to paper and write for a specified amount of time, not judging the content, but just letting the words flow.

Katherine Wiles

I leant tapestry from a fellow singer who, when not on stage, was always working on her latest project. I don’t do it all the time, but it’s taught me to relax, focus and I’ve found the repetitive nature really calming. Tapestry is a great dressing room project. It’s like colouring in but with wool and they make great cushions.

Laura Pike

I’ve recently been reconnecting with my creative side, working on projects that are completely separate to my career. My beautiful girl Rumi turned 3 in September, so I thought it a wonderful time to challenge myself and make her a keep sake that she could play with and hopefully cherish for many years to come. Meet Ear and Boonting (named by her 🤣) hand stitched with natural wool and hand-dyed felt. It was the most therapeutic experience and it brings me so much joy watching her play with them and create memories. The felt stars are a part of a special tradition where the ‘birthday fairy’ delivers a star under her pillow in the lead up to her magical, special day 🌟💛

If you feel like you can relate to this article, and you’ve discovered a new creative outlet that has allowed you to find a sense of calm, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to get in touch and include a photo of your latest project you feel happy sharing with the wider community. Whether big or small, completed, or unfinished, we should all celebrate our achievements.

Email us at ewc@punitdas.com as we would love to share your photos and stories next month with your industry community!

Check out the Entertainment Wellness social pages for great resources and tips: Facebook. Instagram.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

September 13, 2022

Wellness Challenge 2022 “JOY”!

Well, it’s a wrap! The 2022 Wellness Challenge of ‘Joy’ has finally come to an end. What a wonderful week it was. We had a record number of people participating this year and sharing their version of the daily challenges on social media. So many great and fun stories were told!

The most important part of the challenge is what happens now and the next steps that the challenge has inspired you to take. Reflecting on things you have learnt during the challenge that you would like to carry on in your everyday life, and also how you feel about your own mental health and wellbeing right now and whether you are noticing any shifts there.

It’s important for us to know what you thought of the week so we can incorporate your feedback when creating next year’s challenge. Please click this link and fill in the post-challenge reflection (it’s very short and will only take a couple of minutes). Why not do this over a mindful cup of something you enjoy?

World Mental Health Day is coming up on Monday 10th October. Why not use this day as another opportunity to connect with yourself and others around you around your own mental health and wellbeing? Maybe even try one of the challenges again and see what you get from it this time!

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook and Instagram for great resources and tips.

If you missed the challenge, all the wonderful resources are still available here.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

September 1, 2022

Caring for our members’ mental wellbeing

The 新萄京娱乐 Entertainment Wellness Committee (EWC) brings together performers, crew and creatives to raise awareness, create resources and build community as they tackle mental health and wellbeing issues associated with our industry. In this article for the latest Equity Magazine, some of the EWC members share their reasons for involvement.

August 16, 2022

Awakening Wellness: Why should I consider Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training?

Over the past two years many cast and crew members have heard about this amazing skill and have been trained to help make our industry a safer, healthier and happier industry to work in.

Here’s some testimonials from recent MHFA trainee participants and their experiences to share with you.

“Participating in Mental Health First Aid training facilitated by Ben Steel was a fantastic experience. Ben’s deep understanding of our screen industry means that he is able to deliver the course with unique insights about our profession.

With the majority of my work currently located in the training of performers, I believe in the importance of modelling excellence to the next generation. This involves integrating wellbeing principles alongside intimacy guidelines in our work at Flinders University. 新萄京娱乐’s guidelines are touchstones as we develop new practices. The opportunity to undertake MHFA training with Ben has helped me to better support students, while also modelling industry best-practice.

Being able to take the course online meant that I could easily fit it into my life. The web based training was accessible, and the online quizzes and videos kept the lessons moving. The two weekend-afternoon Zoom sessions hosted by Ben were also an opportunity to meet participants around the country. Being based in Adelaide, I really appreciated being able to engage with performers all around Australia.

Given the ever increasing stresses of the world we live in and the strain on our healthcare system, I believe that the more people there are with language, tools, and resources to take care of each other, the better. Mental Health First Aid training is a simple, effective way to do that”.
– Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Federal Vice President of Equity, EWC and NPC)

“I jumped at the chance to take up Mental Health First Aid training when it was offered to members of an arts board I sit on. I’ve worked on challenging shows as a performer, including verbatim pieces dealing with abuse and trauma – but I also know that anyone working on any show can be having a hard time with their mental health. The training was such a gift. I left feeling more confident in my ability to have a mental health conversation – but perhaps more importantly, more confident I would start one if a person in my life needed me to. This is why I’d recommend it to everyone working in every part of our industry. I’ve encouraged dozens of people I work and volunteer with since to do the training – and in my day job as a tour coordinator, my goal for the next 18 months is for someone with the training to be on every tour I send on the road!”
– Nick Maclaine (NPC President WA, EWC, and Board Member Artists Relief Fund WA)

If you’re interested in learning about this invaluable tool, here are some upcoming courses. (Don’t forget to use the code 新萄京娱乐 at checkout for a generous discount!)

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.

July 18, 2022
Rejoining or Retreating?

For many months now we’ve been moving about in our communities and living with Covid. For some of us in certain parts of Australia it has meant not a lot is different and life is pretty ‘normal’ again. For others, it means donning our masks again, sanitising ferociously and retreating back into our homes.

I recently left Melbourne for a short trip to Queensland. I enjoyed the freedom of no mask and observed very little social distancing whilst there. My family who live there made comment that ‘most people live like Covid never existed here’.

I returned home to many friends becoming ill, not only with Covid but the Flu and various other illnesses. Services closing and businesses being understaffed due to the high influx of illness and staff away.

I have to say that in the last week I’ve just wanted to retreat to my bedroom and not go outside where it’s so ‘peopley’. Is it just me?  How are you feeling? Do you feel like you’re going to be judged because you want to work from home again? Or that you want to wear a mask to a party where no one else is wearing one?

All of this can surge so many emotions in us. For some, even PTSD of the trauma of lockdown. I guess I just wanted to remind everyone of putting their strategies and safe guarding (whatever that may be for you) in place again, without shame or guilt. Do what is right for you. Don’t feel the pressure of others and go gently with yourself. Self care is so important right now. We’re still adjusting. It’s just a different adjusting now. But we got this and there is support out there if you feel that you don’t.

Please remember our wonderful industry supports in:

•  Support Act (24 hour hotline) 1800 959 50
•  The Arts Wellbeing Collective (artswellbeingcollective.com.au)
•  Screen Well (screenwell.com.au)
•  The Hey Mate Project (theheymateproject.com)
•  Your state Benevolent Funds (actorsbenevolentfund.org.au)

You’re not alone.

Much love,

Kathy Lepan-Walker
(Co-chair EWC, NPC, Vic Equity Delegate)

When you walk into a room wearing a mask, and you see no one else is… Courtesy of Ru Paul’s Drag Race & Tim Minturn, EWC

If you have a piece of art/cartoon/meme that you’d like to share, please submit to the Equity Wellness Committee at ewc@punitdas.com for us all to enjoy!

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.



Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

June 2022

For the month of June, we are focusing on Mindfulness with this wonderful article written by our very own co-chair Tahlya Searle.


Ever wondered why MindFULNESS, is the word we use now to describe the antidote to a mind that is over-filled?  I think about these things, and sometimes feel like my mind is overflowing with thoughts about the ironies of life.  While this provides a strange source of entertainment for me, there is a point where these thoughts can be unwelcome and distracting. When we look at what a mind that is ‘over-filled’ might feel like, the words overwhelmed and scattered, seem like a good fit.  Focus can become a greater challenge, and if unwelcome thoughts are more serious in nature we can feel mentally, emotionally and/or physically drained and vulnerable.

My random fun with ironies is pretty harmless, but if I’m juggling five deadlines, the needs of my family, and a toddler-kitten who acts like a puppy shredding a full toilet roll all over the house…  then the ability to stay focused, clear, calm and present becomes pretty important!  A mindfulness practice engaged with before reacting, lets our autonomic nervous system know we’re ok, and assists us to regain a sense of mental and emotional safety.  By practicing mindfulness regularly, we train our brains to respond more consciously to stressful situations. This means we stay engaged with our ability to feel empathy and understand that, for example, a little kitten is just curious, and now I’ll know to put the toilet rolls in a different spot.  While this is a pretty low-key example, it highlights how we as humans, can react to stress on many levels.

The 7 pillars of mindfulness support a state of conscious self-awareness, rather than a state of unconscious reaction.  These pillars can be used as a quick checklist for engaging with a mindfulness practice:

•  NON-JUDGMENT; not applying evaluations.
•  PATIENCE; without urgency.
•  BEGINNER’S MIND; openness and curiosity.
•  TRUST; in ones inner wisdom.
•  NON-STRIVING; process rather than outcome.
•  ACCEPTANCE; reality as it is.
•  LETTING GO; getting unstuck.

Zerubavel, N. (2015)

A mindfulness practice can help us to be more conscious of our reactions, feel a greater sense of gratitude, improve self-compassion, and enjoy life more fully (to name just a few benefits).  Here are some popular mindfulness practices that people engage with:

•  Mindful breathing
•  Mindful observation
•  Mindful awareness
•  Mindful listening
•  Mindful immersion
•  Mindful appreciation

For instructions on ways to engage with these practices, visit: http://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/

The Mayo Clinic also has some simple instruction for mindfulness mediations:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356 

If you like your apps, try:  “CALM” “Headspace” and “Insight Timer” which have lots of free content.

If you want to try something right now, here’s a direct link to a free simple 5-minute Awareness of Breathing meditation: http://www.headspace.com/meditation/5-minute-meditation


Dana, D. (2018). The Polyvagal theory in therapy: engaging the rhythm of regulation (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.
Porges, S. W., & Dana, D. (2018). Clinical applications of the polyvagal theory: The emergence of polyvagal-informed therapies (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). WW Norton & Company. shorturl.at/xzMN9
Zerubavel, N. (2015). Singing the Blues: Honoring Emotional Experience Through Mindfulness-based Treatment of Depression (Power Point Slides). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.  shorturl.at/egrGH

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.



Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

May 11, 2022

Wellness Committee Update 

Big news!!! We have joined forces with Crew (Yay!) and we have a new name! We are now the Entertainment Wellness Committee….still EWC (see what we did there?!).

We would like to welcome our new members for 2022 to the Wellness Committee and tell you a little about them. We’re so lucky to have them on board!

Ngaire Pigram (she/they) is a proud Wajarri & Yawuru queer/pan storyteller of stage and screen. Ngaire is a performer, writer and director based in WA and a member of the National Performers’ Committee, IC新萄京娱乐 and the WA Equity Committee.

Dr Tiffany Lyndall-Knight is an award-winning writer, actor and director based in South Australia. She is the Federal Vice-President of Equity and a member of the NPC.

Nick Maclaine is a performer and tour co-ordinator based in Western Australia. Nick sits on the NPC (WA President) and is a proud new member of the EWC! Nick is also a board member of Artist Relief Fund WA.

Kieran Cato is a crew member and the Managing Director of CATO Location Services & Honeywagons. Kieran is also an alumni member of NSW Leaders, and a member of both the SPA and AusFilm.

Tim Minturn is a performer based in Melbourne and has been an Equity member for 26 years. Tim joined up after he graduated from WAAPA in 1995. He’s very happy to be part of the team!

Merryn Schofield is a crew member working in Set Decoration for both film & television for 7 years now. She has worked on Thor: Love & Thunder, The Drovers Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, and Stan’s original series, Bump.

Glenn Hazeldine is a performer based in NSW and the Vice President of Equity’s NSW branch. He is also a member of the NPC and Deputy Chair of the Actors Benevolent Fund NSW.

Tess O’Flaherty is a performer and crew member. She has her own company called Happy Heart Productions. She is in the HOD Working Group, working together with the South Australian Film Corporation.

…it’s always sad to say ‘goodbye’.
Sadly, a few members have stepped down from the Committee. Thank you for your incredible contributions to the Wellness Committee and wellness in the arts in general. Your compassion, generosity and talent has changed the lives of countless artists and your work has been fundamental in creating vital change to the culture of our industry. You are a light in the world, and you are an inspiration to us all.

Farewell to Sharon Davis, Liam McIlwain (founding co-chair), both pictured above and Liza Dennis (co-chair).

A farewell note from Sharon Davis: “Being part of the Wellness Committee has been one of the most profound and rewarding experiences I’ve had as a union member and an activist. Our members account for some of the most vulnerable workers in Australia when it comes to mental health related issues and then you have to address the issues of stigma, financial cost, and access to help. What could be more vital work than working to create resources, support, and awareness around health and wellbeing for performers and crew? If anyone is looking for a way to have a meaningful contribution to our union (beyond paying your dues) seek out any of the committees. The EWC meetings are warm, welcoming, practical, and hopeful. We all need some of that”.

A farewell note from Liam McIlwain: “I was involved with the creation of the EWC in 2016 and was a founding co-chair, sitting in this position for four years. It was a great joy to work with so many passionate advocates at the union and to play a small part in the necessary shift in culture around how we think about health and wellbeing in our industry. It’s extraordinary to see the change that has taken place in a relatively short time, and I can’t wait to see how the EWC will continue to champion a fairer and healthier workplace for us all”.

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook and Instagram pages for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

May 3, 2022

Awakening Wellness: COVID Dividends with Doctor Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, new member of the Entertainment Wellness Committee

What good has come out of Covid? Is there any value in trying to see the bright side of such a disruptive, painful, and frightening time? I pitched this article to the Entertainment Wellness Committee two days before my son returned a positive RAT test. Until that moment, the pandemic had been inconvenient and frightening but had not touched my family personally. It was easier to think about the positives that have emerged out of Covid – what I heard someone once flippantly describe as ‘Covid dividends’ – when I wasn’t sitting in isolation during the second week of the school holidays, consoling one child about cancelled social events and confining the other to his bedroom.

A dividend is the payment a company makes to shareholders in return for their investment. It is a reward for taking a risk. As a global community, we have invested so much of our energy and resources in getting through this pandemic. It has cost us lives, jobs, and relationships. What are the dividends for our collective investment? Surely some good must have emerged out of this sacrifice.

Within our own industry there have been some unexpected gains. We have seen the re-emergence of understudies as a valued members of mainstream theatre casts. Actors have been paid to be ‘on hold’ for television commercials as an insurance policy to replace performers who may contract Covid before shooting. We’ve seen the practice of self-testing open up more opportunities for regionally based performers, and an explosion of US screen production in Australia. The digital live streaming of theatre productions has inspired a conversation about accessibility and equity for audiences as we move forward. Increased awareness about health and safety practices has shone a spotlight on-set safety, conditions, and mental health. Perhaps most importantly, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the midst of Covid precipitated a profound re-evaluation about representation and the stories our industry must tell more effectively in order to reflect our diverse society.

On a larger scale, while we have experienced enormous instability, conflict, and loss, we have also seen unprecedented medical advances and public health achievements. We have witnessed an international reckoning about how we treat our oldest and most vulnerable citizens, and how our economic system disregards essential workers. We saw how swiftly even the most conservative government could respond to a crisis with massive financial investment: surely proof that we have the resources, expertise, and energy to tackle the other existential threat of our time, climate change. As union members, particularly with an election coming up, we have an opportunity to keep these conversations going and make real, systemic change.

Research in positive psychology consistently demonstrates that gratitude is associated with well-being. Cultivating gratitude through practices like mindfulness meditation, ‘counting your blessings’, and writing thank-you notes has been proven to strengthen relationships and increase levels of happiness. While it can be hard to see any positives in current times, considering the benefits arising from a great challenge can be a radical act that pushes back against the darkness. Instead of doom scrolling, consider spending some time with the Good News Network, musician David Byrne’s newsletter Reasons to be Cheerful, or actor John Krasinski’s creative response to lock-down, the vlog Some Good News. Write a letter to a long-lost friend. Find out where you can donate blood. Or just take a moment to consider your own Covid dividends and congratulate yourself for making it this far.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook or Instagram for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X

April 12, 2022

Awakening Wellness: Screen Well

For the month of April we bring to you the launch of ‘Screen Well’, a new hub for Mental Health and Wellbeing for the Australian Screen Sector.

“Prioritising wellbeing in the workplace starts at the top, but everyone working in screen has a part to play if we want to create mentally healthier screen workplaces, that’s why Screen Well’s suite of early intervention and prevention services help to support individuals, peers, and workplaces,” shared Screen Well co-founder Ben Steel, and director of acclaimed ABC documentary The Show Must Go On (Inside Film Magazine, March 28, 2022).

Ben is also running Mental Health First Aid courses for production and post production crew commencing in June 2022. So be sure to go to the page and express your interest: http://forms.gle/jZzTuheBDncQd11G7

To check out the website and access all the fabulous resources go to:

•  http://www.screenwell.com.au/
•  http://www.facebook.com/screenwell
•  http://www.instagram.com/screenwell.com.au

March 23, 2022
Awakening Wellness: Mindfulness Colouring & Back After Interval

For the month of March we are throwing in a fun activity and talking about returning to work and how you can access assistance during this transition period.

Here’s a fun online Mandala Mindlfulness colouring activity to complete (only if you choose to, but trust us, it’s super fun!)

“Back After Interval” – the transition of returning to live performance work by the Arts Wellbeing Collective

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and change across Australia, many of us begin – or begin again – a gradual return to work in the performing arts industry. We also recognise that much of our creative community remain without their usual prospects, and others are working overtime to try and reopen those opportunities.

Whether we’re working, training, creating, rehearsing, presenting or touring, we’re likely doing so after prolonged disruption . As we navigate this return to our creative practice and work roles within a new context, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. This will be a process of change that will be experienced differently by each of us.

Whilst there may be a sense of excitement to return to these spaces, there may also be new challenges that bring on hesitation, stress and anxiety. The good news is that there’s lots we can do to look after our mental health and wellbeing, to support the people around us, and to help get ourselves, and our creative community back on stage.

Click here and here to read more and access this wonderful resource.

The Arts Wellbeing Collective have so many wonderful resources for live performance workers. Remember to visit their page regularly for new podcasts, videos and upcoming events to support and nurture our industry’s mental health and wellness.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook and Instagram pages for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X

February 22, 2022
Awakening Wellness: Bookclub

For the month of February we wanted to bring to you our EWC BOOKCLUB!

Some of our members of the EWC would love to share with you some books that they have enjoyed or found inspiring during the last couple of years. Some of them were read during lockdowns and gave people great comfort and entertainment. You may find these resources are something you might like to explore or recommend to a friend.

“Phosphorescence” by Julia Baird – It is a wonderful read and inspiring investigation into how we can find and care for our inner happiness or ‘inner light’. I think that this book resonates with what we have been experiencing as a collective finding in recent times. – Aimee Davies

‘The Dark Hours” by Michael Connelly – I’m a huge fan of these books and they never disappoint. Yet again, Harry Bosch and Renée Ballard join forces to solve another murder on the dark streets of Hollywood at New Year’s Eve. As the events unfold, an unsolved murder comes to light, and as the dots are slowly connected, you’ll be reading well into the early hours. – Katherine Wiles

“So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away” by Richard Brautigan – Haunting, nostalgic, melancholic, and evocative are what best describe So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away, one of Brautigan’s last works. The narrative’s exploration of death and loneliness intrigued me most. It can be a terrifyingly daunting experience, yet simultaneously tender and comforting. Brautigan contemplates life is not defined by destiny, but by the products of our deliberate, individual choices.
-Barbara Bartnik

“Honeybee” by Craig Silvey – It is an honest, powerful and insightful story. Rich characters that leap off the page and leave your heart full.
-Sam Foster

“Free Play” by Stephen Nachmanovich – During my dance training, this was my go-to book. For me it articulated a deeper understanding of the creative process and opened my young eyes to how powerful the arts could be, not just as entertainment, but as a medium for deeply connecting to, and understanding my own humaness. One of my favourite quotes: “The Creative and the Receptive, making and sensing, are a resonant pair, matching and answering each other.” P34 -Tahlya Searle, Co-chair

“Lost Connections” by Johann Hari – A stunning and insightful book looking at depression and its epidemic levels, and possible reasons for it. It is personal, research based and also practical. The focus is on disconnection and ways of building connections with others, and ourselves. Challenging, moving, life changing and community affirming. –Simon Ward

“Daring Greatly”– How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead”, by Brene Brown – It’s 10 years old and I’m only getting around to reading it now but I think it’s so helpful to us as humans and particularly creative people. Vulnerability and shame are something we all experience or battle with. This is an invitation to be courageous, to show up and let ourselves be seen. – Kathy Lepan-Walker, Co-chair

“Metamorphoses” by Ovid – I first read (sections of) it when studying philosophy at high school, and it has been a part of my life and work ever since. Beyond inspiring imagination, this book reminds me that as humans, we understand the world through story, and story (including religion) is a way for us to achieve a skerrick of comprehension. That is, the only permanent thing is change. Trying to control that which is out of my power is the source of suffering. All is belief and I have power over what I believe. Spiritual pursuits are those fleeting moments where we are part of the whole. –Pip Edwards, Co-chair

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X

February 22, 2022
An update from your Equity Wellness Committee Co-chairs

Although we’re sad to see them go, two of our amazing Co-chairs are hanging up their hats and we cannot express just how grateful we are for their guidance, compassion and the amazing contribution that they have made to EWC over the past few years. Here are a few words from them to you.

“It has been an honour to serve as co-chair of EWC since 2018, first with the founding co-chairs, Liam McIlwain and Sarah Borg; then with the bright light that is Laura Pike; and this year with a dedicated, generous and kind group of people that make up your existing EWC co-chairs. My message to all Equity members is to reach out to the EWC at any time; to chat with your colleagues about safety, wellness, resilience and even high performance; and to not hesitate to seek out help from trained professionals. Keep building the supportive community we all want to be a part of!” – Francisco Lopez

“Thank you to 新萄京娱乐 and all the divine members of the EWC for making me feel so welcome, during my time as co-chair in the committee. The passion, heart and commitment for wellbeing in the Arts from every member has truly been a privilege to witness and be a part of. I look forward to continuing this work with you all and am already blown away at what the new co-chairs are bringing to this role and industry. Much love and endless gratitude to you all xx” – Laura Pike

We also farewell two wonderful EWC members who have contributed so much over the years Camilla Ah Kin and Jessica Tovey. Thank you both for your commitment and support and all the best for everything.

Keep an eye out for more updates from your EWC coming soon. Be well X 😊

February 8, 2022
Awakening Wellness:  Hey Mate’s Mental Health First Aid Training online in Feb & March 

Happy New Year, we hope that this finds you well!

Some very exciting news to share around MHFA courses for this year.

The Hey Mate Project have opened up their first MHFA course with creative industry insights for 2022 via the blended online course.

You can find more details here.

Aimee Davies has kindly organised for a $60 discount off the course price with the code ‘新萄京娱乐’ for all of our fabulous members. Thanks so much to The Hey Mate Project!

Last year we were fortunate enough to acquire 12 spots in a Mental Health First Aid Training Course for 12 very lucky Equity Members. A massive thank you to Luke O’Connor at Support Act who made this possible. Also, to Caroline McClaren, from Make Shift who facilitated this course on our behalf with the wonderful Ben Steel delivering it. We are so grateful to you all for making this possible.

It is so important that this training continues to happen in all facets of our industry to learn these essential life skills to enable supportive mental health conversations. With more people training in this area we can feel confident that our industry will be able to eliminate the stigma around mental health and enable people to feel more empowered when in a situation where a mental health issue or crisis arises.

Here is some of the great feedback that we had from participants:

“Undertaking the MHFA training has given me great confidence in being able to help colleagues, friends and family if they develop mental health problems. I have been given a language and actions that support them without swamping and can direct them to suitable professional help without shaming them. It offers great script directions and dialogue.” – Phil Thomson, Actor

“”The mental health first aid training was an invaluable experience. The training equipped me with the tools and provided a deep insight into how to support myself and those around me experiencing the vast spectrum of mental health. I am incredibly grateful for the organisations and individuals who made this workshop accessible.” – Maryanne Fonceca, Actress

“Being an actor/ performing artist in Australia takes incredible mental fortitude. Knowing more about our community’s mental health, especially in regards to substance abuse and suicide, and giving strategies to assist others, was invaluable.” – Matt Young, Actor

We are hoping to be able to deliver even more courses this year so stay tuned for more opportunities.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X

November 15, 2021

Awakening Wellness with special effects artist and 新萄京娱乐 member Ella McInnes

Ella McInnes, a 新萄京娱乐 crew member and special effects artist, is passionate about raising mental health awareness in the screen industry. 

Hello my name’s Ella, I currently live on Gadigal country as part of the Eora nation here in Warrane (Sydney), and would like to acknowledge traditional custodians and all its elders of this great country that I know and love.

Living through the pandemic has been a massive time of learning for me…and it still is.

Lockdown. My busy work and social life was replaced with months of solitude. Endless days pondering life’s choices, my need for connection and getting all the way to…Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going?

To stop the mind spiralling, I used this time to learn as much as possible with podcasts, books and research on things like psychology, neurology, relationships, the journey to zero waste, fitness and mental health.

I completed my Mental Health First Aid course for the second time which is a course I highly recommend.

I also did singing lessons, started learning piano, created my first vege patch and took my cooking skills up about four levels!

We all have different coping mechanisms. While I admire those who meditate, relax and sit comfortably in their thoughts – I found peace in moments of satisfaction, progress and development.

Isolation really highlighted how important self care is. Self-care is different for everyone.

My advice; find out what works for you and do lots of it!

However we can’t do it all ourselves. We need support too, and training.

The film industry employees hundreds of people. While we love our work, the conditions in our industry can be really tough. Long hours, high pressure, ongoing stress and extended periods away from family & support networks.

This puts us under higher risk of mental illness and suicide.

Working as contractors puts us in a particularly vulnerable situation. Because our contracts are short term there’s a culture of ‘get into it, don’t complain, harden up, it’s only a few months, push through.’ But often these jobs run back to back and this work ethic can be tough.

We try to support each other but we are untrained and unsupported ourselves, so people are left feeling alone and pushing themselves to breaking point.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like this! Other large industries (mining, construction, corporate, retail etc) have systems in place to ensure their workers feel supported, happy and safe at work. It’s time for the film, screen and entertainment Industries to catch up!

Let’s make this change happen.

Lets bring mental health standards up to health & safety standards through awareness, training and support.

Want to know how you can help? The first step is easy. Start talking. Every conversation about mental health helps to reduce stigma. Once we abolish stigma, people will be more likely to get the support they need.

You can make a huge difference by talking openly about mental health.

Thank you for reading this 🙂

Here’s the Equity Wellness Facebook page to share ideas & resources. Let’s do this.

Love & Respect,
Ella McInnes

October 13, 2021

Wu Tao – The Dancing Way -Find Balance and Peace

Happy Mental Health Month! We have an offering this month that’s a little different and we hope that you enjoy it.

Founded in Oriental medicine, Wu Tao is a series of flowing dances choreographed to music which connects you to your ‘Qi’ or ‘life force’ energy. You learn how to reconnect to your true self through the healing nature of dance, to experience profound balance and peace. It’s organic, innovative and dynamic, and can be practiced by everyone.

Introduction about Wu Tao
Video to trial the practise.

For more information about this practise contact Michelle Locke.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for some great resources, tips and information, with more added every Wednesday. Give it a like while you’re there too!
Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X

October 6, 2021

Mental Health First Aid Training

Thanks to everyone who responded to our survey around Mental Health First Aid Training. Your feedback has been invaluable in helping us gauge the needs of our community.

MHFA funding has been provided by Support Act and the Australian Government’s Office for the Arts, and facilitated by the wonderful people at MakeShift. A massive thank you to these organisations for making this possible.

Our 12 lucky participants have been advised, and we’ll be sure to let you know about future opportunities.

Stay well, Kathy and your Equity Wellness Committee X

The MWC exists to create a culture of community and support and to reduce the stigma around these health and wellness of those who work in Entertainment.

Kathy Lepan-Walker – Equity and Crew (co-chair)
Karen Percy – Media (co-chair)
Sophie Carter – Equity (co-chair)
Ali Aitken – Equity and Media (co-chair)

In response to the concerning statistics surrounding the state of mental health in our industry, including barriers to seeking help, the Wellness Committee has created the Health Database.

This is a national list of GPs, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who have self-identified as having a special interest in or affiliation with the arts and/or artists.

Download the Health Database here.

PLEASE NOTE: 新萄京娱乐 does not endorse or recommend any of the professionals listed. This list is intended only as a guide to get you started and does not substitute for your own research.

If you are a mental health professional with an interest in working with members of the entertainment industry request to join the database here.

Find the MWC’s latest resources and updates here.

Support Act Wellbeing Hotline: 1800 959 900  (Specifically for the creative industries)
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 463
eHeadspace: For young people aged 12-25 yo
SANE: 1800 187 263
Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
Blue Knot Foundation: 1300 657 380 www.blueknot.org.au
13YARN (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Support): 13 92 76
LGBTIQ Switchboard: 1800 184 527

30 days of mental health

Online Wellness Portal

Looking for inspiration and information about living a healthy creative life? Developed by our friends at Zebra Collective, exclusively for Equity members, the Equity Wellness Portal will house hundreds video interviews with Australian and US performers and creatives. Click here and follow the simple login details.

The Entertainment Health Database

This is a national list of GPs, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who have self-identified as having a special interest in or affiliation with the arts and/or artists.
Download here.

Wellness Tips for Performers Booklet

The Wellness Committee members share their top tips for keeping your mind fit and healthy. We hope you find encouragement and inspiration, and we invite you to share this resource with your colleagues to continue the conversation around wellness at work. Download here.

Mindfulness Practices for Performers

1.Mindfulness for Anywhere, Anytime

World-renown meditation coach Deone Zanotto shared some simple and effective mindfulness exercises that performers can use to stay calm and present before an audition, stuck in traffic, or when in general need of grounding. Listen here. 

2. Step out of performance mode by Sarah Borg.

A short grounding practice to help transition out of performance mode. Great for those times after an audition, rehearsal, a day on set… especially those performances that might be tricky to let go of. Listen here.

3. Mindfulness of your cuppa by Sarah Borg.

Prepare your favourite hot beverage and use it as an anchor in this short practice to help centre your mind in the present moment. Listen here.

4. Pre Audition calm-down and energise up by Simon Ward.

Pre Audition calm-down and energise up (by Simon Ward). In the hallway before an audition. Everyone else is better than me and I have to go in! A mindful way of calming down and keeping your focus. Listen here. 

5.Post performance solo or group cool down by Simon Ward.

A brilliant performance! Welcome yourself back to the world without a bumpy re entry. Listen here.