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Actor suicides prompt launch of ArtsMinds mental health website

A recent survey found that 20% of performers have sought help for mental health issues. Photo: Andrey Guryanov/Shutterstock
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A series of suicides in the industry has prompted the launch of a new website aimed at supporting entertainment professionals facing mental health issues.

ArtsMinds is a joint initiative between Equity, The Stage, the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and Spotlight. The website provides users with advice on areas such as relationships, careers, health and finances.

Clicking on each section allows performers and creative practitioners to access resources relevant to their own situation or concerns. The site also links to charities and organisations that can offer support.

Catherine Comerford, chairman of The Stage, explained: ”ArtsMinds was developed following the suicides of three actors within a relatively short space of time. One longstanding member of the acting profession questioned whether we, along with Equity and Spotlight could not do something between us to help.”

She added: ”We hope ArtsMinds will act as a signpost to sources of support and advice, whatever situation people find themselves in.”

After a series of suicides within the acting community in 2013 and 2014, including those of Richard Gent and Paul Bhattacharjee, research into the difficulties industry professionals face in terms of mental health challenges was conducted.

Comerford said the results had shown “just how destructive the audition knock-backs, low/no pay, and shortage of work can be”.

The survey, taken by more than 5,000 people, found that one in five of the entertainment sector had actively sought help for mental health issues.

It revealed that 46% of those who responded to a question about the state of their mental health described it as either poor or average.

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