The Arts Wellbeing Collective is an Arts Centre Melbourne initiative that comprises a consortium of arts and cultural organisations working together to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.

The Arts Wellbeing Collective team collaborates with our member organisations, subject matter experts, performing arts practitioners, and clinical and positive psychologists to co-design initiatives that are shared widely across the industry.

Our work is prevention-focused and evidence-based, informed by contemporary research into workplace mental health, organisational development, and extensive sector knowledge.

We are striving for transformative change in our collective awareness of, attitudes to and management of mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.

This means:

  • Thinking deeply about how and why we do the things we do
  • Looking honestly at the psychosocial risks experienced by people working in the performing arts
  • Working together to actively design out risk, and/or reduce risks
  • Sharing what we learn with each other to shape our shared future

We see a future where the performing arts and its people flourish.

The performing arts comes with its own particular pressures and challenges. More and more, there’s great information available to help support people’s mental health and wellbeing in general. For those of us in the performing arts, it’s the specifics where things can get tricky.

For example, getting good quality sleep is a known protective factor for positive mental health and wellbeing – but what if you always work nights? Or if you’re on tour?  Sometimes, it can be hard to see how advice is possible to follow in our context. That ‘how’ – this is where the Arts Wellbeing Collective has a role to play.

What we do

Arts Wellbeing Collective resources and services are designed to:

  • Improve mental health literacy
  • Reduce barriers to help-seeking, and
  • Build practical skills in individuals and leaders

Together with our members, we explore sector-specific cultures, practices and systems that may impact the mental health and wellbeing of performing arts practitioners and organisations.

To have the most impact, we work at three interconnected levels: ME – WE – US (Jarden, 2016)

  • Me: What practical skills and knowledge do our individuals need to stay mentally healthy in the performing arts?
  • We: What practical skills and knowledge do our organisations need to create mentally healthy workplaces?
  • Us: What system level changes are needed to embed positive, industry-wide change?

What we’ve done

Since launching, the Arts Wellbeing Collective has:

  • Delivered more than 100 workshops and 70 presentations
  • Met with leadership teams of 40+ performing arts companies to strategise the promotion of positive mental health in their workplace
  • Developed and delivered a range of resources for production teams, touring companies, performing artists and more
  • Enabled professional help-seeking through the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline
  • Rolled out tailored, accredited Mental Health First Aid training to nearly 200 performing arts practitioners
  • Confirmed more than 300 member organisations

Get involved

  • Become a member of the Arts Wellbeing Collective – we welcome organisations, companies, and workplaces of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a group of independent artists developing a profit share production, or a major institution with thousands of employees, the Arts Wellbeing Collective welcomes you.
  • Subscribe to our eNews – the Arts Wellbeing Collective sends an eNewsletter, roughly each month.
  • Engage with our resources – whether you’re about to go on tour, or just want to take time out with a short meditation, check out our resources for positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • Be an ambassador for positive mental health and positive culture change in the performing arts industry. Culture is what we do. We make it together every day though our choices, actions, words, and ways of doing things. Make sure yours reflects the values you want to see in our broader industry.

 Whatever role you play, you can make a difference.