The federal government has announced $20 million funding for mental health charity Support Act
10.08.2021

The federal government has announced $20 million funding for mental health charity Support Act

You Am I by Josh Braybrook

The charity will receive additional federal funding for artists, crew and music workers in Australia as crisis relief calls spike.

The federal government has announced $20 million in funding for Australian music charity Support Act as part of a $35 million package to assist music industry and performing arts workers who are struggling due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The package will also include $15 million towards the Sustainability Fund.

The charity provides relief services to participants in the Australian music industry who are experiencing crises, as a result of a variety of factors including mental health problems, injury or other factors detrimentally impacting their capacity to earn a crust. Among other things, this support could come in the form of rental, mortgage or bill relief all the way through to the provision of funds for funerals.

The key takeaways

  • The Federal Government has announced a $35 million funding package for arts-focused COVID-19 support measures, with $20 million to go to charity Support Act
  • The funding will enable Support Act to continue to broaden its scope beyond the music sector and offer support to artists, creatives, production, and technical crew across the arts
  • Crisis Relief Grants are valued at $2,000 for individuals and $2,700 for families with dependent children

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The latest round of funding, announced today, will allow the charity to continue to bring much-needed relief to those in the music industry who have lost work, gigs and their livelihoods due to the ongoing lockdowns and restrictions.

The funding will also allow Support Act to expand its work beyond the music industry to include live performing arts workers, namely those working in theatre, dance and circus.

“It’s a difficult time for everyone working in the creative sector at the moment and particularly those working in live performance,” says Clive Miller, CEO of Support Act.

“Lockdowns and restrictions are impacting music and performing arts workers around the country, and many are falling through the cracks when it comes to the other federal and state funds available.

“What’s clear is that the impacts of the Delta variant are going to be felt for quite some months and this additional support from the Government will help to ensure that more people are able to access our crisis relief and mental health and wellbeing services.”

The announcement comes as Support Act faces an incredible surge in demand. As reported by The Age, crisis relief calls have spiked with an average of 500 calls are being placed to the charity each day. It’s said that applications for crisis grants peaked at 600 a day in mid-to-late July, when Victoria entered its fifth lockdown and NSW extended its lockdown into August.

Support Act will open applications to performing arts workers from August 23, once it has had the chance to modify its existing processes and bring on additional support staff. Applications from music workers will continue to be processed as normal.

Support Act COVID-19 Crisis Relief Grants (formerly known as MusicKeeper /CrewKeeper) are valued at $2,000 for individuals and $2,700 for families with dependent children. The grants are now available to anyone working professionally in music or the performing arts, provided they meet the set criteria.

 

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To date, Support Act has processed 4,506 Crisis Relief Grants to artists, artist managers, crew and music workers for a total value of $10.9m, with over 1,700 hours of counselling offered through its Wellbeing Helpline. The free telephone counselling service was introduced last year in the wake of the pandemic and tackles all aspects of mental health including depression, anxiety, addiction and suicidal ideation, as well as providing support in relation to issues that can have an impact on mental health, such as relationship or workplace difficulties.

You can find the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Grant online application form on the Support Act website.

If you need someone to speak to, you can call the free, 24/7 Wellbeing Helpline, Manager Support Hotline or First Nations Support Line on 1800 959 500.