Benevolent Funds backs mental health first aid training with MEAA, Screen Well

Australasian Performing Arts Benevolent Funds (AAPABF) has backed a program to upskill 108 live performance and screen workers in mental health first aid.

The program will be conducted in partnership with the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) and its Equity wellness committee, and presented by Screen Well.

Mental health first aid training teaches people to identify the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, provide skills to initiate and navigate mental health conversations, and provide support to their peers who may be struggling with a mental health problem.

“This partnership with Screen Well will bring valuable training to our performing arts workers. Mental health issues continue to be challenging within the sector and are often overlooked. We are confident the impact of this partnership will be felt for years to come,” said an AAPABF spokesperson.

The AAPABF training will be delivered across nine online courses commencing in June by Screen Well founder and director Ben Steel.

“Our industry benevolent funds and MEAA for years have provided tremendous support to screen and live performance workers, whether that be crisis relief, community building, or advocacy for change, and so much more – I’m incredibly proud that we are part of this program that will harness our 30 plus years stage and screen industry experience to skill-up our colleague on how to initiate and navigate mental health conversations,” he said.

If a worker notices that a colleague might be struggling with a mental health problem, they can use their MHFA skills to:

  • Approach the colleague in a supportive and non-judgmental way.
  • Start a conversation about the colleague’s wellbeing.
  • Listen to the colleague and let them know that they are not alone.
  • Encourage the colleague to seek professional help if needed.

“Our vibrant entertainment industry, while contributing significantly to the economy and culture, can also pose challenges to mental health. As awareness grows, fostering mentally safe workplaces not only benefits workers’ well-being but also boosts the bottom line of screen businesses,” said MEAA Equity director Michelle Rae.

To express your interest in the training, go here.