Entertainment Wellness


“The reports speak for themselves; people are suffering for their ‘art’ and they just don’t have to.”

May 11, 2022

Wellness Committee Update 

Big news!!! We have joined forces with Crew (Yay!) and we have a new name! We are now the Entertainment Wellness Committee….still EWC (see what we did there?!).

We would like to welcome our new members for 2022 to the Wellness Committee and tell you a little about them. We’re so lucky to have them on board!

Ngaire Pigram (she/they) is a proud Wajarri & Yawuru queer/pan storyteller of stage and screen. Ngaire is a performer, writer and director based in WA and a member of the National Performers’ Committee, ICMEAA and the WA Equity Committee.

Dr Tiffany Lyndall-Knight is an award-winning writer, actor and director based in South Australia. She is the Federal Vice-President of Equity and a member of the NPC.

Nick Maclaine is a performer and tour co-ordinator based in Western Australia. Nick sits on the NPC (WA President) and is a proud new member of the EWC! Nick is also a board member of Artist Relief Fund WA.

Kieran Cato is a crew member and the Managing Director of CATO Location Services & Honeywagons. Kieran is also an alumni member of NSW Leaders, and a member of both the SPA and AusFilm.

Tim Minturn is a performer based in Melbourne and has been an Equity member for 26 years. Tim joined up after he graduated from WAAPA in 1995. He’s very happy to be part of the team!

Merryn Schofield is a crew member working in Set Decoration for both film & television for 7 years now. She has worked on Thor: Love & Thunder, The Drovers Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, and Stan’s original series, Bump.

Glenn Hazeldine is a performer based in NSW and the Vice President of Equity’s NSW branch. He is also a member of the NPC and Deputy Chair of the Actors Benevolent Fund NSW.

Tess O’Flaherty is a performer and crew member. She has her own company called Happy Heart Productions. She is in the HOD Working Group, working together with the South Australian Film Corporation.

…it’s always sad to say ‘goodbye’.
Sadly, a few members have stepped down from the Committee. Thank you for your incredible contributions to the Wellness Committee and wellness in the arts in general. Your compassion, generosity and talent has changed the lives of countless artists and your work has been fundamental in creating vital change to the culture of our industry. You are a light in the world, and you are an inspiration to us all.

Farewell to Sharon Davis, Liam McIlwain (founding co-chair), both pictured above and Liza Dennis (co-chair).

A farewell note from Sharon Davis: “Being part of the Wellness Committee has been one of the most profound and rewarding experiences I’ve had as a union member and an activist. Our members account for some of the most vulnerable workers in Australia when it comes to mental health related issues and then you have to address the issues of stigma, financial cost, and access to help. What could be more vital work than working to create resources, support, and awareness around health and wellbeing for performers and crew? If anyone is looking for a way to have a meaningful contribution to our union (beyond paying your dues) seek out any of the committees. The EWC meetings are warm, welcoming, practical, and hopeful. We all need some of that”.

A farewell note from Liam McIlwain: “I was involved with the creation of the EWC in 2016 and was a founding co-chair, sitting in this position for four years. It was a great joy to work with so many passionate advocates at the union and to play a small part in the necessary shift in culture around how we think about health and wellbeing in our industry. It’s extraordinary to see the change that has taken place in a relatively short time, and I can’t wait to see how the EWC will continue to champion a fairer and healthier workplace for us all”.

Check out the Entertainment Wellness Facebook and Instagram pages for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Entertainment Wellness Committee X

May 3, 2022

Awakening Wellness: COVID Dividends with Doctor Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, new member of the Entertainment Wellness Committee 

What good has come out of Covid? Is there any value in trying to see the bright side of such a disruptive, painful, and frightening time? I pitched this article to the Entertainment Wellness Committee two days before my son returned a positive RAT test. Until that moment, the pandemic had been inconvenient and frightening but had not touched my family personally. It was easier to think about the positives that have emerged out of Covid – what I heard someone once flippantly describe as ‘Covid dividends’ – when I wasn’t sitting in isolation during the second week of the school holidays, consoling one child about cancelled social events and confining the other to his bedroom.

A dividend is the payment a company makes to shareholders in return for their investment. It is a reward for taking a risk. As a global community, we have invested so much of our energy and resources in getting through this pandemic. It has cost us lives, jobs, and relationships. What are the dividends for our collective investment? Surely some good must have emerged out of this sacrifice.

Within our own industry there have been some unexpected gains. We have seen the re-emergence of understudies as a valued members of mainstream theatre casts. Actors have been paid to be ‘on hold’ for television commercials as an insurance policy to replace performers who may contract Covid before shooting. We’ve seen the practice of self-testing open up more opportunities for regionally based performers, and an explosion of US screen production in Australia. The digital live streaming of theatre productions has inspired a conversation about accessibility and equity for audiences as we move forward. Increased awareness about health and safety practices has shone a spotlight on-set safety, conditions, and mental health. Perhaps most importantly, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the midst of Covid precipitated a profound re-evaluation about representation and the stories our industry must tell more effectively in order to reflect our diverse society.

On a larger scale, while we have experienced enormous instability, conflict, and loss, we have also seen unprecedented medical advances and public health achievements. We have witnessed an international reckoning about how we treat our oldest and most vulnerable citizens, and how our economic system disregards essential workers. We saw how swiftly even the most conservative government could respond to a crisis with massive financial investment: surely proof that we have the resources, expertise, and energy to tackle the other existential threat of our time, climate change. As union members, particularly with an election coming up, we have an opportunity to keep these conversations going and make real, systemic change.

Research in positive psychology consistently demonstrates that gratitude is associated with well-being. Cultivating gratitude through practices like mindfulness meditation, ‘counting your blessings’, and writing thank-you notes has been proven to strengthen relationships and increase levels of happiness. While it can be hard to see any positives in current times, considering the benefits arising from a great challenge can be a radical act that pushes back against the darkness. Instead of doom scrolling, consider spending some time with the Good News Network, musician David Byrne’s newsletter Reasons to be Cheerful, or actor John Krasinski’s creative response to lock-down, the vlog Some Good News. Write a letter to a long-lost friend. Find out where you can donate blood. Or just take a moment to consider your own Covid dividends and congratulate yourself for making it this far.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook or Instagram for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X


April 12, 2022

Awakening Wellness: Screen Well

For the month of April we bring to you the launch of ‘Screen Well’, a new hub for Mental Health and Wellbeing for the Australian Screen Sector.

“Prioritising wellbeing in the workplace starts at the top, but everyone working in screen has a part to play if we want to create mentally healthier screen workplaces, that’s why Screen Well’s suite of early intervention and prevention services help to support individuals, peers, and workplaces,” shared Screen Well co-founder Ben Steel, and director of acclaimed ABC documentary The Show Must Go On (Inside Film Magazine, March 28, 2022).

Ben is also running Mental Health First Aid courses for production and post production crew commencing in June 2022. So be sure to go to the page and express your interest: https://forms.gle/jZzTuheBDncQd11G7

To check out the website and access all the fabulous resources go to:

•  https://www.screenwell.com.au/
•  https://www.facebook.com/screenwell
•  https://www.instagram.com/screenwell.com.au


March 23, 2022
Awakening Wellness: Mindfulness Colouring & Back After Interval

For the month of March we are throwing in a fun activity and talking about returning to work and how you can access assistance during this transition period.

Here’s a fun online Mandala Mindlfulness colouring activity to complete (only if you choose to, but trust us, it’s super fun!)

“Back After Interval” – the transition of returning to live performance work by the Arts Wellbeing Collective

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and change across Australia, many of us begin – or begin again – a gradual return to work in the performing arts industry. We also recognise that much of our creative community remain without their usual prospects, and others are working overtime to try and reopen those opportunities.

Whether we’re working, training, creating, rehearsing, presenting or touring, we’re likely doing so after prolonged disruption . As we navigate this return to our creative practice and work roles within a new context, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. This will be a process of change that will be experienced differently by each of us.

Whilst there may be a sense of excitement to return to these spaces, there may also be new challenges that bring on hesitation, stress and anxiety. The good news is that there’s lots we can do to look after our mental health and wellbeing, to support the people around us, and to help get ourselves, and our creative community back on stage.

Click here and here to read more and access this wonderful resource.

The Arts Wellbeing Collective have so many wonderful resources for live performance workers. Remember to visit their page regularly for new podcasts, videos and upcoming events to support and nurture our industry’s mental health and wellness.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook and Instagram pages for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X


February 22, 2022
Awakening Wellness: Bookclub

For the month of February we wanted to bring to you our EWC BOOKCLUB!

Some of our members of the EWC would love to share with you some books that they have enjoyed or found inspiring during the last couple of years. Some of them were read during lockdowns and gave people great comfort and entertainment. You may find these resources are something you might like to explore or recommend to a friend.

“Phosphorescence” by Julia Baird – It is a wonderful read and inspiring investigation into how we can find and care for our inner happiness or ‘inner light’. I think that this book resonates with what we have been experiencing as a collective finding in recent times. – Aimee Davies

‘The Dark Hours” by Michael Connelly – I’m a huge fan of these books and they never disappoint. Yet again, Harry Bosch and Renée Ballard join forces to solve another murder on the dark streets of Hollywood at New Year’s Eve. As the events unfold, an unsolved murder comes to light, and as the dots are slowly connected, you’ll be reading well into the early hours. – Katherine Wiles

“So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away” by Richard Brautigan – Haunting, nostalgic, melancholic, and evocative are what best describe So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away, one of Brautigan’s last works. The narrative’s exploration of death and loneliness intrigued me most. It can be a terrifyingly daunting experience, yet simultaneously tender and comforting. Brautigan contemplates life is not defined by destiny, but by the products of our deliberate, individual choices.
-Barbara Bartnik

“Honeybee” by Craig Silvey – It is an honest, powerful and insightful story. Rich characters that leap off the page and leave your heart full.
-Sam Foster

“Free Play” by Stephen Nachmanovich – During my dance training, this was my go-to book. For me it articulated a deeper understanding of the creative process and opened my young eyes to how powerful the arts could be, not just as entertainment, but as a medium for deeply connecting to, and understanding my own humaness. One of my favourite quotes: “The Creative and the Receptive, making and sensing, are a resonant pair, matching and answering each other.” P34 -Tahlya Searle, Co-chair

“Lost Connections” by Johann Hari – A stunning and insightful book looking at depression and its epidemic levels, and possible reasons for it. It is personal, research based and also practical. The focus is on disconnection and ways of building connections with others, and ourselves. Challenging, moving, life changing and community affirming. –Simon Ward

“Daring Greatly”– How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead”, by Brene Brown – It’s 10 years old and I’m only getting around to reading it now but I think it’s so helpful to us as humans and particularly creative people. Vulnerability and shame are something we all experience or battle with. This is an invitation to be courageous, to show up and let ourselves be seen. – Kathy Lepan-Walker, Co-chair

“Metamorphoses” by Ovid – I first read (sections of) it when studying philosophy at high school, and it has been a part of my life and work ever since. Beyond inspiring imagination, this book reminds me that as humans, we understand the world through story, and story (including religion) is a way for us to achieve a skerrick of comprehension. That is, the only permanent thing is change. Trying to control that which is out of my power is the source of suffering. All is belief and I have power over what I believe. Spiritual pursuits are those fleeting moments where we are part of the whole. –Pip Edwards, Co-chair

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X


February 22, 2022
An update from your Equity Wellness Committee Co-chairs

Although we’re sad to see them go, two of our amazing Co-chairs are hanging up their hats and we cannot express just how grateful we are for their guidance, compassion and the amazing contribution that they have made to EWC over the past few years. Here are a few words from them to you.

“It has been an honour to serve as co-chair of EWC since 2018, first with the founding co-chairs, Liam McIlwain and Sarah Borg; then with the bright light that is Laura Pike; and this year with a dedicated, generous and kind group of people that make up your existing EWC co-chairs. My message to all Equity members is to reach out to the EWC at any time; to chat with your colleagues about safety, wellness, resilience and even high performance; and to not hesitate to seek out help from trained professionals. Keep building the supportive community we all want to be a part of!” – Francisco Lopez

“Thank you to MEAA and all the divine members of the EWC for making me feel so welcome, during my time as co-chair in the committee. The passion, heart and commitment for wellbeing in the Arts from every member has truly been a privilege to witness and be a part of. I look forward to continuing this work with you all and am already blown away at what the new co-chairs are bringing to this role and industry. Much love and endless gratitude to you all xx” – Laura Pike

We also farewell two wonderful EWC members who have contributed so much over the years Camilla Ah Kin and Jessica Tovey. Thank you both for your commitment and support and all the best for everything.

Keep an eye out for more updates from your EWC coming soon. Be well X 😊


February 8, 2022
Awakening Wellness:  Hey Mate’s Mental Health First Aid Training online in Feb & March 

Happy New Year, we hope that this finds you well!

Some very exciting news to share around MHFA courses for this year.

The Hey Mate Project have opened up their first MHFA course with creative industry insights for 2022 via the blended online course.

You can find more details here.

Aimee Davies has kindly organised for a $60 discount off the course price with the code ‘MEAA’ for all of our fabulous members. Thanks so much to The Hey Mate Project!

Last year we were fortunate enough to acquire 12 spots in a Mental Health First Aid Training Course for 12 very lucky Equity Members. A massive thank you to Luke O’Connor at Support Act who made this possible. Also, to Caroline McClaren, from Make Shift who facilitated this course on our behalf with the wonderful Ben Steel delivering it. We are so grateful to you all for making this possible.

It is so important that this training continues to happen in all facets of our industry to learn these essential life skills to enable supportive mental health conversations. With more people training in this area we can feel confident that our industry will be able to eliminate the stigma around mental health and enable people to feel more empowered when in a situation where a mental health issue or crisis arises.

Here is some of the great feedback that we had from participants:

“Undertaking the MHFA training has given me great confidence in being able to help colleagues, friends and family if they develop mental health problems. I have been given a language and actions that support them without swamping and can direct them to suitable professional help without shaming them. It offers great script directions and dialogue.” – Phil Thomson, Actor

“”The mental health first aid training was an invaluable experience. The training equipped me with the tools and provided a deep insight into how to support myself and those around me experiencing the vast spectrum of mental health. I am incredibly grateful for the organisations and individuals who made this workshop accessible.” – Maryanne Fonceca, Actress

“Being an actor/ performing artist in Australia takes incredible mental fortitude. Knowing more about our community’s mental health, especially in regards to substance abuse and suicide, and giving strategies to assist others, was invaluable.” – Matt Young, Actor

We are hoping to be able to deliver even more courses this year so stay tuned for more opportunities.

Check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for great resources and tips.

Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X


November 15, 2021

Awakening Wellness with special effects artist and MEAA member Ella McInnes

Ella McInnes, a MEAA crew member and special effects artist, is passionate about raising mental health awareness in the screen industry. 

Hello my name’s Ella, I currently live on Gadigal country as part of the Eora nation here in Warrane (Sydney), and would like to acknowledge traditional custodians and all its elders of this great country that I know and love.

Living through the pandemic has been a massive time of learning for me…and it still is.

Lockdown. My busy work and social life was replaced with months of solitude. Endless days pondering life’s choices, my need for connection and getting all the way to…Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going?

To stop the mind spiralling, I used this time to learn as much as possible with podcasts, books and research on things like psychology, neurology, relationships, the journey to zero waste, fitness and mental health.

I completed my Mental Health First Aid course for the second time which is a course I highly recommend.

I also did singing lessons, started learning piano, created my first vege patch and took my cooking skills up about four levels!

We all have different coping mechanisms. While I admire those who meditate, relax and sit comfortably in their thoughts – I found peace in moments of satisfaction, progress and development.

Isolation really highlighted how important self care is. Self-care is different for everyone.

My advice; find out what works for you and do lots of it!

However we can’t do it all ourselves. We need support too, and training.

The film industry employees hundreds of people. While we love our work, the conditions in our industry can be really tough. Long hours, high pressure, ongoing stress and extended periods away from family & support networks.

This puts us under higher risk of mental illness and suicide.

Working as contractors puts us in a particularly vulnerable situation. Because our contracts are short term there’s a culture of ‘get into it, don’t complain, harden up, it’s only a few months, push through.’ But often these jobs run back to back and this work ethic can be tough.

We try to support each other but we are untrained and unsupported ourselves, so people are left feeling alone and pushing themselves to breaking point.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like this! Other large industries (mining, construction, corporate, retail etc) have systems in place to ensure their workers feel supported, happy and safe at work. It’s time for the film, screen and entertainment Industries to catch up!

Let’s make this change happen.

Lets bring mental health standards up to health & safety standards through awareness, training and support.

Want to know how you can help? The first step is easy. Start talking. Every conversation about mental health helps to reduce stigma. Once we abolish stigma, people will be more likely to get the support they need.

You can make a huge difference by talking openly about mental health.

Thank you for reading this 🙂

Here’s the Equity Wellness Facebook page to share ideas & resources. Let’s do this.

Love & Respect,
Ella McInnes


October 13, 2021

Wu Tao – The Dancing Way -Find Balance and Peace

Happy Mental Health Month! We have an offering this month that’s a little different and we hope that you enjoy it.

Founded in Oriental medicine, Wu Tao is a series of flowing dances choreographed to music which connects you to your ‘Qi’ or ‘life force’ energy. You learn how to reconnect to your true self through the healing nature of dance, to experience profound balance and peace. It’s organic, innovative and dynamic, and can be practiced by everyone.

Introduction about Wu Tao
Video to trial the practise.

For more information about this practise contact Michelle Locke.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the Equity Wellness Facebook page for some great resources, tips and information, with more added every Wednesday. Give it a like while you’re there too!
Take care and be well…Your Equity Wellness Committee X


October 6, 2021

Mental Health First Aid Training

Thanks to everyone who responded to our survey around Mental Health First Aid Training. Your feedback has been invaluable in helping us gauge the needs of our community.

MHFA funding has been provided by Support Act and the Australian Government’s Office for the Arts, and facilitated by the wonderful people at MakeShift. A massive thank you to these organisations for making this possible.

Our 12 lucky participants have been advised, and we’ll be sure to let you know about future opportunities.

Stay well, Kathy and your Equity Wellness Committee X

The EWC exists to create a culture of community and support and to reduce the stigma around these health and wellness of those who work in Entertainment.

Ali Aitken (co-chair)
Kathy Lepan-Walker (co-chair)
Tahlya Searle (co-chair)
Pip Edwards (co-chair)
Chloe Dallimore
Frances Duca
Jonathan Mill
Jonathan Chan
Maryanne Fonceca
Simon Ward
Katherine Wiles
Aimee Davies
Lucas Stibbard
Sam Foster
Barbara Bartnik
Joe Meldrum
Stephanie Power
Steve Heart
Amy Welsh
Stu Halusz
Merryn Schofield
Tim Minturn
Tess O’Flaherty
Kieran Cato
Ngaire Pigram
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Glenn Hazeldine
Nick Maclaine

In response to the concerning statistics surrounding the state of mental health in our industry, including barriers to seeking help, the Equity Wellness Committee has created the Equity Health Database.

This is a national list of GPs, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who have self-identified as having a special interest in or affiliation with the arts and/or artists.

Download the Equity Health Database here.

PLEASE NOTE: MEAA does not endorse or recommend any of the professionals listed. This list is intended only as a guide to get you started and does not substitute for your own research.

If you are a mental health professional with an interest in working with members of the entertainment industry request to join the database here. 

30 days of mental health

Online Wellness Portal

Looking for inspiration and information about living a healthy creative life? Developed by our friends at Zebra Collective, exclusively for Equity members, the Equity Wellness Portal will house hundreds video interviews with Australian and US performers and creatives. Click here and follow the simple login details.

The Equity Health Database

This is a national list of GPs, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who have self-identified as having a special interest in or affiliation with the arts and/or artists.
Download here.

The Equity Wellness Committee Information Brochure

The Equity Wellness Committee was formed last year in response to two surveys which showed troubling levels of anxiety and depression among performers. The committee is made up of passionate and generous people with experience and interest in helping our industry adopt a more holistic approach to wellness. Find out more about the Committee and how you can get involved.

Wellness Tips for Performers Booklet

The Wellness Committee members share their top tips for keeping your mind fit and healthy. We hope you find encouragement and inspiration, and we invite you to share this resource with your colleagues to continue the conversation around wellness at work. Download here.

Mindfulness Practices for Performers

1.Mindfulness for Anywhere, Anytime

World-renown meditation coach Deone Zanotto shared some simple and effective mindfulness exercises that performers can use to stay calm and present before an audition, stuck in traffic, or when in general need of grounding. Listen here. 

2. Step out of performance mode by Sarah Borg.

A short grounding practice to help transition out of performance mode. Great for those times after an audition, rehearsal, a day on set… especially those performances that might be tricky to let go of. Listen here.

3. Mindfulness of your cuppa by Sarah Borg.

Prepare your favourite hot beverage and use it as an anchor in this short practice to help centre your mind in the present moment. Listen here.

4. Pre Audition calm-down and energise up by Simon Ward.

Pre Audition calm-down and energise up (by Simon Ward). In the hallway before an audition. Everyone else is better than me and I have to go in! A mindful way of calming down and keeping your focus. Listen here. 

5.Post performance solo or group cool down by Simon Ward.

A brilliant performance! Welcome yourself back to the world without a bumpy re entry. Listen here.