‘Mental Health Crisis’ in UK’s Film and TV industry, study finds

Posted on 18th February 2020 by Charlotte Nixon

Film, TV and screen industries take action as major study reveals 'mental health crisis' in the workforce, with 87% of people working in our industry having experienced a mental health problem

Commissioned by The Film and TV Charity and conducted by the Work Foundation, the report reveals that almost 90% of off-screen professionals experience mental health issues, which is significantly worse than the general population figure, which stands at 65%. This research has prompted an urgent action plan backed by leading studios, broadcasters, and production companies.

The study included a survey of more than 9000 industry professionals. Among the key findings were:

  • Workers in this industry are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared with the national average
  • Workers are three times as likely to have self-harmed compared with the national average
  • Over half of workers have considered taking their own life (compared with one-fifth nationally) and one in 10 have attempted to do so

This research confirms that there is indeed a mental health crisis in the industry; The Film and TV Charity describe the report as having produced ‘alarming and deeply upsetting findings’. Their analysis sought to understand the underlying causes of these issues, and has highlighted three broad areas of concern: Conditions (challenging and demanding working conditions), Culture (the behaviours impacting wellbeing and the stigma surrounding mental health), and Capability (a lack of accessible support and targeted training to support mental health for industry workers).

The Film and TV Charity convened a summit on mental health last month, at which industry leaders agreed an initial £3 million commitment to fund an urgent action plan, The Whole Picture Programme. Launching in April, the action plan will be co-designed by industry partners, including Sky, Channel 4 and ITV Studios.

Chief executive of The Film and TV Charity, Alex Pumfrey, claims ‘We can no longer shy away from the need for real change, which is why I am pleased and proud to be working with the members of the new Film and TV Taskforce on Mental Health to spearhead a movement for change’.

You can find the full report from The Film and TV Charity and the Work Foundation here.

If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by anything you’ve read here, you can contact The Film and TV Charity’s free, confidential and 24/7 Support Line on 0800 054 00 00.

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