Industry Minds Talk Mental Health In The Arts

Industry Minds Talk Mental Health In The Arts

BroadwayWorld caught up with Scarlett Maltman and Cathy Read to chat about their podcast Industry Minds and why they feel that we need a stronger focus on mental health in the arts.

Tell us a bit about Industry Minds and how it came to be.

Industry Minds is a podcast which opens up the discussion on mental health within the creative arts. In a relaxed interview style, we chat with various creatives in our industry and release episodes on a weekly basis.

Scarlett came up with the idea last year after struggling with mental health and she realised no one was talking about it. She thought that a podcast would be a fantastic way for people to listen and open up to mental health. She went with the idea to her friend Cathy Read and Industry Minds was born!

Do you both come from an arts background?

Yes, we are both professional actresses and creatives in the industry which is why we felt the need to create this platform after both feeling the effects first hand.

Cathy's recent credits include Beth in Little Women (Hope Mill Theatre) and Lucy in The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit-rehearsed reading (Southwark Playhouse)
Scarlett's recent credits include The Australian Shakespeare Company and The Wizard of Oz at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

Who has been featured on the podcast?

We like to get as many experiences as possible so that our listeners can hopefully relate to someone's story. In Series 1 we interviewed 14 creatives from across the field from BAFTA Award Winning Director Michael J Ferns to Choreographers, Philip Joel and Tom Jackson Greaves.

We also featured actors from all different fields from West End, TV/Film, tours and actors like ourselves who are currently auditioning. We have some really exciting interviews coming up in Series 2, which is currently being released. You can find out who we will be featuring on our Instagram and Twitter accounts @industrymindsuk.

Why is it important to feature all kinds of creatives?

We want to ensure that this is a platform that all types of creatives at any level in their chosen field can connect with. Many creatives struggle with mental health, it isn't just limited to actors.

How has the response been so far?

The response has been very supportive and also a bit overwhelming! We did not expect it to have such a big response which is proof that the industry really does need support regarding mental health. The response has made us even more determined to do everything we can to break the stigma and do more for creatives regarding mental health.

Where can you access the podcast?

You can find our podcast on Apple Podcasts or Soundcloud for Android uses under 'Industry Minds'.

We are hoping to have transcripts of episodes available in the future too, which will be available on our website.

And you offer free counselling as well?

We have teamed up with a brilliant counsellor Mary Burch. Mary has been a counsellor for many years and was awarded a BEM in 2017 for her free services towards helping others. We offer a completely free telephone or Skype counselling service, which is available to anyone in the industry.

We have also recently just launched 1:1 sessions at a creative friendly price of £25 per session. You can email us or Mary to find out more about these sessions!

Who is eligible for this counselling?

Anyone! If you are a creative and are in need of a bit of help, contact Mary. The NHS can take several months to offer free counselling and private counselling is very expensive, so this alternative is aimed at those who cannot wait 10 months to speak to someone or splash £50+.

Do you feel like there is enough support for mental health in the industry?

Absolutely not. There is very little out there in terms of support and whilst it is great that there is a huge shift happening, more needs to be done. Places such as The Actors Centre who support our podcast, have an array of mental health services available which you can check our via their website but there is very little out there.

What do you think needs to change?

I think drama schools need to change their outlook towards mental health and look at what they are doing to support their students emerging into the industry. Almost every single person we have spoken to has stated that they did not feel supported at drama school and that they left feeling vulnerable.

There is a fantastic mental health charter available called 'Time4Change' that any drama school, agency, theatre company etc. can and should sign up for as a starting point. There are some great organisations like 'Performers In Mind' who offer free mental health workshops to drama schools. We will be releasing an interview imminently with Amy Jessop, a wellbeing coach who is particularly popular amongst a few drama schools at the moment. This is a good starting point, for drama schools to really prioritise their students wellbeing.

There also needs to be a shift within the industry itself. The initiative needs to come from the top down. If big producers and companies are supporting all their staff with their mental health and well-being, be it creatives, backstage, front of house etc. then we become proactive and not reactive. Ultimately this will feed into a feeling of better wellbeing across the industry and improve life for everyone!

More information on Industry Minds can be found @IndustryMindsUK on Twitter and Instagram and on their website.

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue

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