Being an actor asks a LOT of one person. Not only do we have to have talent, focus, drive, and a willingness to accept rejection, we also have to be incredibly in tune with our emotions. From Meisner to Method, the art of acting can be a raw and vulnerable experience — and sometimes an overwhelming one.
But just like professional athletes need to be in tip-top physical shape for their sport, actors need to be in tip-top mental and emotional shape to perform. To help you reach peak performance, we’ve compiled a list of the best mental health resources for performers. Keep reading to unlock the key to your most authentic performance yet.
An excellent resource for those of us looking to truly and fully live a life in the arts, The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actor’s Fund) provides several options to support your mental health. You can receive a health assessment, counseling, referrals to providers familiar with the industry, and connect with support groups (that aren’t your friends’ wildly chaotic group chats).
Anyone in the performing arts can use their services, and if you need financial assistance they offer aid if you meet eligibility requirements. So the next time you need someone to lean on, call on the community you call home.
2. NYC Well
Does the idea of actually speaking to another human sometimes make you want to crawl into the sewer system like the Thénardiers? Well now you can text or chat (or call, if you’re into that) to get free mental health support with NYC Well.
Actors can keep some wild hours between rehearsals, performances, social events, and auditions, but fear not — NYC Well is available 24/7. Don’t need live support, but want some coping and wellness tips? Their website has got you covered.
If you’ve ever felt like doctors just don’t get it when it comes to your needs as an artist, you are not alone. That’s why the folks at Weill-Cornell created a dedicated center for artists of all kinds to receive specialized care for both physical and mental ailments — because we are special, dangit!
Perhaps the best part is that the personalized guidance you receive to find the right care is entirely — no, it’s not a trick or a joke — free.
The list of things COVID hasn’t changed over the last 2.5 years is pretty miniscule compared to its sibling list of what has changed. And as we’re all too aware, actors and the entertainment industry at large were knocked sideways by the pandemic. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that many of us are still grappling with how to come to terms with it.
NY Project Hope has every resource imaginable to help — it’s like the Wonka Factory but for mental health. You can talk with professionals, find providers, join a wellness group, learn tips for coping and relaxation, and stay up to date on resources available to you, all free of cost.
Whether you’re in need of their addiction recovery programs or their educational resources, Enlightened Solutions puts your care and mental well-being first (just like you should!).
They have a full three-octave range of articles — like this one specifically for actors— that address the gamut of mental health issues, not just addiction and recovery. But if you do need addiction support of any kind, their programs are holistic and focused on you, so you can return to the stage refreshed and ready to take on the industry
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers another helpline for anyone in need. More than that, they have a laundry list of support groups and classes for both individuals and family members or friends of those who are struggling.
If you’re skeptical of support groups that are stuffy and boring, you’ll be happy to learn that you can find exciting ones through NAMI-NYC like their music, creative writing, or expressive arts groups. They also have community sessions that join you with peers with similar struggles. These include an LGBTQ+ group and a group for those living with anxiety and depression.
You’ve probably heard this next suggestion from an ad on the podcasts you use for train entertainment — yes, we’re talking mental wellness apps. The world is at our fingertips, literally, and we can use the little boxes glued to our hands for more than just doom scrolling.
If mindfulness and meditation are what you’re looking for, apps like Headspace or Calm might be the solution for you. They can guide you through exercises to bring your mind some much needed peace and quiet. They’ve also expanded their reach to streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, so you don’t even have to turn your TV off if you prefer your media that way.
If instead you’re looking to talk to someone about your struggles, reach out on BetterHelp or Talkspace. You’ll be connected with a professional counselor who can give you advice and methods on how to move forward and cope with the unique challenges you face as an actor.
A well-rounded support system
There are numerous factors that contribute to a healthy mental state — adequate and accessible mental health care being a major one.
But another one not to be overlooked is financial stability. If you need some extra cash, a supportive community of co-workers, and a flexible schedule, check out Worthwhile Event Services today.