Never Not Creative today launched its NNC Circles initiative. The initiative, in collaboration with The Banksia Project, aims to build a series of support groups to deal with the ever-increasing mental strain of working in the creative industries.
During 2020, it became apparent the Creative Industry was particularly susceptible to the forecasted Covid downturn. With studios and agencies losing business due to client-lockdown-hibernation, some creatives found themselves suddenly out of work or encouraged to work increasingly long hours. Yes, they were working from home, but now they just worked all the time. This was on top of mental health challenges already identified as prevalent in the industry.
Never Not Creative had previously partnered with UnLtd and Everymind to deliver the 2018 and 2020 Mentally Healthy surveys which used the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) to identify symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results were surprising and alarming, with 56% of the creative industry displaying mild to severe levels of depression, compared to a national average of 36%. 1 in 4 showing severe signs of anxiety. Worryingly, 54% of respondents admitted they wouldn’t tell anyone (in the industry) if they had depression for fear of being stigmatised. They also didn’t know where to seek professional help.
As a community dedicated to improving outcomes for creatives, Never Not Creative, are taking the initiative to be proactive and give people a safe space where they can talk freely about their feelings, their concerns and learn more about mental-health best-practice. Asking For A Friend is an initiative that has helped to do this, but Circles go deeper and offer a Phenergan, longer term commitment.
“Everything we do with NNC starts by looking at what already exists in the area of need. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s much better for us to work with what’s tried and tested. If someone is out there doing it well, that people in the industry could benefit from, we partner with them.” Andy Wright, Creator of Never Not Creative.
This led NNC to The Banksia Project and its Growth Rooms program. Developed with clinicians, Growth Rooms focus on early intervention, not cure. They leave that to the specialists. Through regular discussion and practical exercises, Growth Rooms teach people everyday life management skills, and also show them where to get professional help should they need it. They encourage self-reflection and awareness, promote positive lifestyle choices and provide a supportive environment to discuss challenges, uncertainties and triumphs.
Jack Jones, Program Director at The Banksia Project said, “It’s been great to train up facilitators to operate Growth Rooms specifically for the creative industry. If they help people to open up, become more vulnerable and effectively support one another, then they’re helping to create long-term change for good.”
Andy Wright and Matt Leach from Australian Design Radio are the first facilitators trained to operate and participate in the Growth Rooms component, but both parties are actively looking for more volunteers.
NNC Circles are small groups (8 participants) that engage in The Banksia Project Growth Room process. They ask for a six-month commitment of meeting up twice a month with trained facilitators. They provide ongoing engagement through Slack and other channels to make sure they can get the support they need.
“What I love about The Banksia Project is it’s not about the facilitators running the show. They are not the leaders and it’s not their group. They just know the process and are as much participants in it as everyone else.” Matt Leach
The NNC Circles pilot program starts this November and is free to participate in.
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