Support Act has unveiled a dedicated support line for First Nations arts workers. The line is available 24/7, confidentially and for free at 1800 861 085.
By calling the support line, First Nations-identifying arts workers will speak to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clinician, or one with cultural awareness training.
“Together, the counsellor will create a culturally safe space for First Nations music and arts workers to express feelings of anxiety, depression, substance use, finance issues, and any other worries they may have,” Cerisa Grant, First Nations Community Engagement/Social Worker for Support Act said in a press release.
Support Act has set up the First Nations Support line in partnership with AccessEAP and with funding provided by the Australian Government. In her press statement, Cerisa Grant highlighted the importance of creating the service.
“The indigenous suicide rate was double that of the general population in 2015,” she said.
“Indigenous suicide increased from 5% of Australia’s total suicide in 1991 to 50% in 2010, despite First Nations people only making up 3% of the Australian population.”
“This is an alarming rate for First Nations People. We hope that more First Nations music and arts workers will seek support in a culturally safe environment and make use of the Dedicated Support Line as a way of processing past injustices and the effects of intergenerational trauma”.
Support Act has rolled out a number of initiatives throughout the pandemic in an effort to support Australian arts workers. In March, it launched its COVID-19 Emergency Appeal which has since raised almost $900,000.
In May, it made its Wellbeing Helpline available to all arts workers. The helpline was launched in 2018 and previously catered exclusively to music industry professionals.
During July, Support Act launched its monthly online wellbeing workshop series, aiming to provide arts workers with tools to manage their mental health.
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Support Act on 1800 959 500.