Equity has launched a new support system for members experiencing mental health issues, which includes a helpline, an individual assessment and free counselling sessions.
The union is working with Health Assured, a company that specialises in mental health support for workplaces, to provide the 24/7 helpline.
Members of the union are also entitled to a mental health assessment and up to six counselling sessions, funded by the union and provided by health charity the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine.
Clinical assessments will take place face-to-face where possible, however telephone appointments will be available for performers on tour.
According to the union, the need for performers to manage rejections, stresses put on relationships due to timetables and touring, and scrutiny of physical appearance can all contribute to mental health issues.
“That’s why it is so important Equity has chosen to work with counsellors who are from the performing arts sector,” said Claire Cordeaux, director of British Association for Performing Arts Medicine.
“We have been supporting Equity members’ physical and mental health for decades and this new scheme will take advantage of our dedicated group of counsellors with knowledge of the particular problems faced by entertainment workers.”
The change follows news in October last year that Equity was to scrap a full-time post created to tackle bullying, harassment and mental health.
The Equity helpline number is 0800 917 6470.