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Mental Health in the Entertainment Space: Struggles and How to Seek Support

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Mental Health issues are now widely accepted as a part of everyday life, and that’s thanks to people in the entertainment industry who have bravely opened up about their struggles.

Mental illness is often misunderstood and misrepresented. In the entertainment industry — especially in the high-stress, high-stakes world of acting it can also be stigmatized.

The pressures of living up to image standards and maintaining a professional image are especially daunting for those who struggle with mental health issues. Working in this field as an actor or other type of performer may actually increase your risk of developing a mental illness, but the truth is that many creatives live balanced, healthy lives with their conditions.

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From actors such as Funny Face who frequently discusses his experiences with depression, to singers like Kanye West, who has been open about her mental health issues, celebrities are helping to normalize the discussion around mental health. As a creative individual in the entertainment industry, you face unique challenges when it comes to your mental health.

In this blog post, we take a look at some of the risks specific to actors and performers and offer tips on how you can use your creativity as a positive force in your life rather

It’s more about how you approach your career than whether you have one. If you’re currently working toward becoming an actor, musician, or another type of performer, or if you plan on doing so someday soon, now is the time to arm yourself with knowledge about how to deal with a mental illness and make it work in your favor.

Read Also: The Value of Building a Community on Social Media for Your Business

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Mental health issues in the entertainment industry are severe

Julie Crosby at Showbizing acknowledged that mental health issues in the entertainment industry are widespread and severe. Studies in the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia show that rates of suicide and suicidal thinking, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are significantly higher among entertainment industry professionals than the general population. Those studies were conducted pre-pandemic. The dismal statistics regarding mental health in the entertainment industry shouldn’t come as a surprise to any producer. It’s a high-risk business that’s rife with uncertainty, job insecurity, and brutal hours.

Many entertainers have taken their own lives. Some struggle with anxiety and depression. What’s more, despite the hard work of many, there is still a stigma associated with mental health.

This is especially true in the entertainment industry. Actors, musicians, and other performers face unique challenges. They have chosen to use their creative talents and skills to build a career and find fulfillment, but with this path comes a certain amount of uncertainty. They face more uncertainty than individuals in most other professions. Not knowing what’s ahead can cause anyone stress and anxiety.

Constant competition with others and being subjected to being judged and measured against others is also understandably stressful. Even if you are the best, for how long will it last?

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Entertainers never know how they will do in the next audition. If rejected, many experience self-doubt, a low sense of self-esteem, and a lack of confidence. It is also common for entertainers to feel overwhelmed. When they do find work, they are required to spend long hours on set, they do not work a 9 to 5 schedule, and they miss out on spending time with family and other important relationships. Research has shown that simply venting your troubles to a friend is not helpful. Your friend most likely can offer sympathy but is not qualified or trained to help you find effective solutions to your problems.

Finding a therapist who understands the unique stresses of the entertainment industry is crucial to leading a healthy life and moving forward with the best possible chance of success both on a personal and professional level.

The rigors and unique stressors of entertainment industry workers

It has a negative impact on well-being and mental health. Common industry threads include financial instability, irregular hours, transient work and its impact on relationships, and lack of permanency. Bullying, harassment, and intimidation can occur, and leaders often don’t know how to provide support. This can make people even more vulnerable. It’s also not uncommon for those working in the entertainment industry to lack insurance that covers behavioral health costs.

It is vitally important to have a cadre of therapists who are familiar with the industry, cognizant of how anxiety, depression, and PTSD are triggered in these workplaces, and willing to adjust their practices to meet the needs of this population (for example, by incorporating sliding scales).

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5 Strategies for staying mentally healthy while working in the entertainment industry

As we celebrate World Mental Health Day this 10 October, here are 5 things you can do to help you maintain good mental health.

1. Talk to someone you trust

Talking to someone you trust – whether a friend, a family member or a colleague – can help. You may feel better if you are able to openly share what you are going through with someone who cares about you. If you live in an area where face-to-face interactions are limited, you can still stay connected with your loved ones through a video call, phone call, or messaging app.

2. Look after your physical health

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Taking care of your physical health helps improve your mental health and well-being. Be active for at least 30 minutes daily, whether that’s running, walking, yoga, dancing, cycling, or even gardening. Eat a balanced and healthy diet. Make sure to get enough sleep.

3. Do activities that you enjoy

Try to continue doing the activities that you find meaningful and enjoyable, such as cooking for yourself or your loved ones, playing with your pet, walking in the park, reading a book, or watching a film or TV series. Having a regular routine with activities that make you feel happy will help you maintain good mental health.

4. Steer away from harmful substances

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Don’t use harmful substances such as drugs, kava, alcohol, or tobacco to cope with what you’re feeling. Though these may seem to help you feel better in the short term, they can make you feel worse in the long run. These substances are also dangerous and can put you and those around you at risk of diseases or injuries.

6. Seek professional help

If you feel like you cannot cope with the stress that you are facing, seek professional help by calling your local mental health helpline or getting in touch with your counselor or doctor.  Remember you are not alone, and there are things you can do to support your emotional well-being and overcome these mental illness.

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