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Study reveals mental illness is rife in entertainment industry

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Almost half of the people working in Australia’s entertainment industry have moderate to severe anxiety (a rate ten times higher than the general population) while even more suffer from depression, and almost 60% have sought professional assistance for mental health issues at some point in their lives.

These are amongst the more shocking findings in a report from Entertainment Assist and Victoria University on the lifestyle and mental health of people working within the entertainment industry.

The report, called ‘Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry’ is based on in-depth interviews with 36 professionals as well as an online survey of almost 3000 industry workers across all areas of the entertainment industry.

While those surveyed reveal a strong passion for their work and creativity, it’s clear that there are severe stressors affecting those workers. The report identifies: “a powerful, negative culture within the industry including a toxic, bruising work environment; extreme competition; bullying; sexual assault; sexism and racism.”

According to Professor Adrian Fisher, the Head of Psychology at Victoria University, the findings suggest the entertainment industry is in “severe distress, and in urgent need of early prevention and intervention programs”.

More than a third of workers in the industry earn less than $20,000 a year, and 60% would be unable to raise $2000 from their networks in the event of an emergency.

The rates of suicide ideation amongst those surveyed is also alarmingly six times higher than the general population, with suicide planning four times higher, and suicide attempts twice as high, at 7.7%

Key responses related to mental health and suicide are reproduced below. The full report is available at



If you or someone you know is in need of support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. A detailed list of support services can be found here.

[box]Featured image: Next to Normal at Hayes Theatre Co. Photo by Yael Stemple[/box]

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