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BBC, channel 4, Disney and Sky UK back Mental health charity campaign targeting tV and film industry

Industry leaders want you to know how they plan to support workers who make the magic happen.

Credit: BBC/World Productions - Mark Mainz

With something of an entertainment renaissance happening on our screens – from the return of Bond at cinemas to Vigil’s record-breaking ratings, the film and TV industry is back and booming.

However behind the magic, viewers may not be aware that the industry is keen to tackle the impact of its success the mental health of its workforce, with key industry figures banding together in a new campaign.

The Film & TV Charity is launching a new campaign to tackle the mental health challenges facing the industry. ‘Let’s Reset’ is a 12-month campaign designed to tackle the stigma still 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.

  • Leaders from across the industry join forces with The Film and TV Charity to support its new campaign ‘Let’s Reset’ and make public pledges on action they are taking to create mentally healthy work environments
  • New research from the second Looking Glass Survey due at the end of the month indicates almost 4 out of 5 workers in film and TV believe intensity of work is having a negative impact on their mental health
  • The campaign calls on those in positions of power to act, to effect change, and commit to better ways of working

The Let’s Reset campaign launches with the support of the organisations that make up The Film and TV Charity’s mental health Task Force, and other leading bodies and organisations from across the industry, who are pledging to support and amplify a frank and open conversation about the meaningful changes needed to support mental health and wellbeing.

In 2020, when the charity announced its response to The Looking Glass Survey, its data showed 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 stark evidence showing that working conditions, industry culture and lack of accessible support create conditions which mean mental health and wellbeing suffer. High incidences of bullying, racism and harassment have intensified the situation, and indicative results from an update to the Looking Glass Survey predict that the number of people feeling that the intensity of work is having a negative effect on their mental health has risen by almost 20% to four in five in the last 12 months2. The update to the survey also indicates that only 10% of those working in the industry believe it is a mentally healthy place to work.

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The Let’s Reset campaign seeks to show individuals working in film and TV that the commitment to improving the industry’s mental health and wellbeing comes from the top down, with senior leaders showcasing their support for the campaign and pledging to:

  • Directly address underlying causes of poor mental health
  • Encourage open discussion to challenge unhealthy behaviours
  • Put specific support in place, including clear signposting of The Film and TV Charity’s growing suite of support services available to anybody working behind the scenes in film, TV, or cinema
  • Highlight the work being done internally and build on work being done by other organisations including BECTU, BAFTA, BFI, Coalition for Change, ScreenSkills and beyond

Rooted in behavioural science and co-created in consultation with individuals and organisations from across the industry, the campaign will move from awareness-raising in the initial launch phase to showcasing and

amplifying 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.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film & TV Charity, said: “People in the film & TV industry are passionate about their craft, but their mental health is too often being strained to breaking point. 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 Let’s Reset campaign is also an opportunity to ensure individuals are made aware of the support that is available. Yes, the charity’s own services, including brand new resources to support the wellbeing of freelancers who too often feel unsupported, but also the excellent work from partners across the industry, such as the guidance to prevent bullying, harassment and racism put in place by BFI and BAFTA, the recent publication of the Freelancer’s Charter by the Coalition for Change, essential training from Screenskills, and the support available from BECTU, to name just a few. It’s also a critical moment for senior leaders to showcase their own meaningful commitments to protect and support their people.”

Comments from The Film and TV Charity’s partners

Lucinda Hicks, CEO Banijay UK, said; “Making sure that Banijay UK is a great place to work is a huge priority for me and my senior team. We want everyone who works with us to feel supported, listened to, empowered and respected. From mandatory training initiatives, to ensuring teams are aware from day one of behaviour expectations on set and beyond; encouraging people to call out behaviour and working practices which don’t feel right, either via our confidential whistle blowing line or via open senior channels, to training mental health first aiders across the company. We are working hard to understand the issues and to tackle them head on so are delighted to be supporting this excellent campaign from The Film and TV Charity.”

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Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer, BBC, said: “A healthier working environment is something we can all get behind. Freelancers are the lifeblood of our industry, and the BBC stands alongside the rest of the film and television community to help improve working conditions for freelancers.”

Ralph Lee, CEO, BBC Studios Productions, commented: ““We’re proud to support and amplify this incredibly important campaign. Our production crews across the UK are the beating heart of our content output and we place their wellbeing and safety above anything else. Last December, BBC Studios launched the Thrive virtual platform where staff can better learn ways to manage resilience and mental health. Eliminating the key triggers for poor mental health is paramount to us.”

Lee Jury, Senior Vice President of Studio Marketing, Disney EMEA, said: “We fully support the need for change and it’s fantastic to see the backing the Let’s Reset campaign is getting across the whole industry. 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.”

Kate Best, Head of Production at IMG, said: “IMG is fully behind the ‘Let’s Reset’ campaign as we recognise the importance of mental health in the working environment and raising awareness of individual’s needs and concerns. It’s imperative to have the correct work/life balance and realise it is ok to sometimes not feel ok! This is a very important initiative for IMG and the industry as a whole.”

Carolyn McCall, CEO at ITV, said: “Supporting and promoting a culture where mental health and wellbeing is both understood and taken seriously is a priority for ITV which is why we support the Let’s Reset campaign. ITV wants to encourage more openness about mental health in the workplace and to ensure that anyone who works directly for ITV, or on an ITV show, feels able to speak up and seek any support they may need.”

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Zai Bennett, Managing Director, Content, Sky UK and Ireland, said: “Improving working conditions across our industry and creating a culture of respect and support is something we’re hugely committed to at Sky. Together across the industry we need to normalise conversations around mental health, encourage people to speak up and ensure they can access the support available if needed.”

Ben Frow, Chief Content Officer, ViacomCBS Networks UK, said: “After a year like no other and with rising poor mental health a growing concern across our sector, we applaud and support the Film and TV Charity’s important and timely campaign. The talent operating within our industry is what makes it unique, consistently delivering the world’s very best in creative excellence, so it is absolutely vital that we work in unison to foster the healthiest, most equitable environment which empowers everybody to do their best work and thrive. Similarly, it’s crucial that we press ahead with our respective efforts as individual companies to embed mental health awareness into our internal cultures and working practices. At C5/ViacomCBS UK, this includes employee, freelancer and contractor access to an extensive suite of educational, informative tools and wellness activities designed to support our people through challenging moments in their personal and professional lives.”

Kevin Trehy, Managing Director, Warner Bros. Productions, said: “The mental and physical wellbeing of WarnerMedia staff and production cast and crew across all our divisions is of paramount importance to us. With our industry benefiting 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.”

Businesses can find out how to support the Let’s Reset campaign and help to shape the future of TV and film by visiting www.filmandtvcharity.org.uk/letsreset. Individuals can also find access to all of the charity’s support services, including the brand-new resources designed specifically for freelancers.

Anyone working in the film and TV industry who needs support can call the 24/7 Support Line on 0800 054 0000 to ask for professional advice and be connected with the best person to help. Let’s Reset.

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