The UK’s Film and TV Charity has launched a year-long campaign to tackle ongoing mental health challenges facing the industry, supported by major studios including Warner Bros and Disney.
Under the banner ‘Let’s Reset’, the behaviour change campaign calls on industry leaders to make public pledges on action they are taking to create mentally healthy work environments.
It is also designed to tackle the stigma associated with mental health by challenging common preconceptions, improving attitudes and behaviours across the industry, and by demonstrating the benefits of healthier, more supported, and inclusive working environments, including greater creativity, diversity, and retention of talent.
The campaign follows a series of high-profile cases of bullying, racism and harassment that have been exposed in recent years.
It is also in response to the charity’s own Looking Glass survey, which revealed that as many as 9 in 10 people working behind the scenes in film and TV had experienced a mental health problem – well above the UK average – with evidence showing that working conditions, industry culture and lack of accessible support created conditions that contributed to poor mental health.
New research from the second Looking Glass report, due at the end of October, will reveal that almost four out of five workers in film and TV believe the intensity of work is having a negative impact on their mental health – a 20% rise over the past 12 months. The update to the survey, which will measure the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, also indicates that just 10% of those working in film and TV believe it is a mentally healthy place to work.
The Let’s Reset campaign, which launches during Mental Health Awareness Week, calls on those in positions of power to act, to effect change, and commit to better ways of working.
It is supported by the charity’s mental health task force, which includes Banijay; BBC; BBC Studios; BFI; Channel 4; IMG; ITV; NBCUniversal; Prime Video; Sky; Sony Pictures; ViacomCBS; and WarnerMedia as well as Disney.
Senior leaders from these organisations will showcase their support for the campaign by pledging to directly address the underlying causes of poor mental health; encourage open discussion to challenge unhealthy behaviours; and put specific support in place, including clear signposting of the Film and TV Charity’s suite of support serves for those working in the industry.
Mental health at “breaking point”
“People in the film and TV industry are passionate about their craft, but their mental health is too often being strained to breaking point,” said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity. “Unhealthy working hours, bad practices, bullying, racism, harassment, and ableism are too common in an industry we all love, and all of us have a role to play in speaking up to create change.
“It’s time to come together and reset by putting our mental health centre-stage and committing to changing a culture that impacts us all.”
The campaign will move from raising awareness at launch to showcasing tools and initiatives to improve the support available, while continuing to address the root causes of the mental health and wellbeing emergency in the industry through to September 2022.
“We fully support the need for change,” said Lee Jury, senior vice president of studio marketing at Disney EMEA. “Positive employee wellbeing and mental health is a huge priority for us at Disney but there’s so much more we can all do, so we encourage everyone to get behind this initiative, spread the word and to continue championing better mental health for all.”
Kevin Trehy, managing director at Warner Bros. Productions, said: “With our industry benefitting from a production boom, it is more important than ever that our people are cared for and that this support is embedded in all aspects of our business from the top down. We are fully committed to the Film and TV Charity’s ‘Let’s Reset’ campaign and continuing to effect positive change across our industry.”
The charity has today launched an area of its website - www.filmandtvcharity.org.uk/letsreset - where individuals can find access to its support services, including resources designed specifically for freelancers, and businesses can learn how to support the new campaign.