Support Act has enlisted a wide range of artists, industry figures, psychologists and more for a special series of mental health discussions at BIGSOUND 2020 this week.
Under the umbrella On My Mind, the local music charity will present seven virtual workshops, featuring talent such as The Teskey Brothers’ Brendon Love, author and broadcaster Jane Gazzo, triple j’s Max Quinn, Nat’s What I Reckon, Frontier Touring’s Sahara Herald, artist Nathan Cavaleri and more.
“These workshops for BIGSOUND are very much focusing on stuff that people will face while working in music, and will give them some tools to manage their own mental health better,” Support Act’s Luke O'Connor told The Music.
The panels at BIGSOUND will deal with conflict resolution, how to seek help and support those in need, deal with rejection and criticism and more.
“All the panels have just turned out so well, and I think they’re the result of Support Act’s work in really tailoring mental health information for people who work in music because we know that people who work in music often have a different disposition to the general public and that the rate of mental illness is higher.”
The series at BIGSOUND coincides with the launch of Support Act’s new website, which will feature extensive mental health resources for people who work in music, and an increase in the amount of mental health first aid training available to music managers and crew through an initiative with CrewCare, which only scratches the surface of what the organisation has been doing since the COVID pandemic shut down the industry.
O'Connor noted that “COVID has really exacerbated existing mental health concerns”, which is why workshops like On My Mind that can bring people together are so important.
“Our helpline has seen a significant upturn in the number of calls, and they’re from anything from career concerns to financial wellbeing, and all the way to people dealing with depression and anxiety relevant to where we’re at and people not knowing what’s happening next,” he said.
“We’ve now serviced nearly 1,000 people with our COVID Crisis Relief Grant, and that’s just people doing it tough financially who need a little bit of a cash injection, and that’s all with support from the Australian Government.
“it’s been a big six months for Support Act and BIGSOUND is just this amazing platform for discussion and social change within the music industry and so that’s why we really wanted to do these panels this year.
“We really wanted to invite some people out there who are making a difference, like artists who are speaking about their own mental health journey, to come and join these panels and discuss.
“The panellists have all been so giving of their own personal story. I always say to our guests that they don’t have to traumatise themselves, they don’t have to come on and tell the darkest story, but everyone has just been so giving and open and honest about what they’ve all been through that I think for anyone out there who is feeling alone, that it’s going to be really great to see some of their heroes speaking so candidly about their own issues.”
Out of the seven talent-packed On My Mind workshops at BIGSOUND this week, O’Connor’s highlighted his two favourites.
“Let Me Down easy is probably my favourite because it’s about dealing with criticism and how to have the resilience to deal with that, or Having Their Back, which is all about how to support a mate who’s battling."
On My Mind is part of BIGSOUND's mental health stream, which includes a keynote from legendary production manager and founder of CrewCare Australia Howard Freeman (Big Day Out, INXS, AC/DC, Eminem, Neil Young, Prince, Rolling Stones) and artist-led roundtable discussion COVID F*cked My Tour Lyf, featuring Mo’Ju, Ecca Vandal and more.
Check out the full list of On My Mind panels and speakers below and head to the BIGSOUND website for the complete 2020 program and all other details.
Having Their Back
Jane Gazzo (Broadcaster/author), Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers), Cerisa Grant (Support Act) and Ash King (Psychologist)
Don’t Tell Me To Calm The F*ck Down
Luke O'Connor (Support Act), Ash King (Psychologist), Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers), Caleb Williams (Support Act/UNIFIED Music Group)
Making The Best Of A Bullshit Year
Jane Gazzo (Broadcaster/author), Nat’s What I Reckon (artist), Ash King (Psychologist), Richard Moffat (Groovin The Moo)
Quit F*cking Up A Good Thing
Max Quinn (triple j), Dr Kamran Ahmed (Rave Reviewz), Sahara Herald (Frontier), Ash King (Psychologist), Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers)
Let Me Down Easy
Max Quinn (triple j), Ash King (Psychologist), Nathan Cavaleri (artist), Fanny Lumsden (artist), Luke O'Connor (Support Act).
Jane Gazzo, Clive Miller (Support Act), Ash Grunwald (artist), Fanny Lumsden (artist), Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers)
Keeping Mob Strong
Troy Benjamin (moderator), Cerisa Grant (Support Act), Fred Leone (artist), Emse Holmes (Psychologist), Candice Lorrae (The Merindas)