Written by Shona Smith on May 20, 2020. Posted in General Interest

Online platform launches during Mental Health Awareness Week for those working in film and TV

The Film and TV charity has launched an online community for workers in film, TV and cinema who are seeking mental health support amid the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. The free resource launched during the UK wide Mental Health Awareness Week.

Industry professionals accessing the platform can receive support in group or one-to-one chats as well as guided self-help courses on managing a range of mental health difficulties including depression, stress, panic and grief, as well as problem-solving and assertiveness training. The platform also offers self-assessment tools and allows people to track their progress and community posts are monitored 24/7 to ensure safety and anonymity.

Research published in February 2020 revealed the extent of the mental health crisis in Film, TV and cinema industries and prompted a cross industry taskforce set up to spearhead change. The industry backed Film and TV Taskforce has GBP3 million funding for an urgent action plan.

At the time, it was found that 87% of the UK film and TV workforce has experienced a mental health crisis. But the current coronavirus crisis sees more than nine industry freelancer in 10 no longer working. The TV and Film charity’s free 24-hour support line received over one thousand calls in April – four times the volume a usual April. In light of the crisis, The Film and TV Charity is accelerating this mental health action plan – known as the Whole Picture Programme.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and Television Charity, said: “Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to reflect on the mental wellbeing of a brilliant, successful and creative community that’s having to cope with the toughest challenges imaginable.

The online community we’re launching today gives everyone in film, TV and cinema an opportunity to talk openly and anonymously, giving as well as receiving advice, comfort and support. Coupled with online courses on dealing with mental health difficulties, the online community will provide a much-needed resource for those who feel left out and isolated, and aren’t able to turn to company structures for help.

As the industry now works out how best to return to work it is vital that we put both physical and mental wellbeing considerations front and centre of our plans for recovery. We need to consider the mental pressures and anxiety that thousands of people in the workforce are experiencing and be conscious of the fact that many will also have unresolved financial problems. The Film and TV Charity will continue to highlight the importance of mental wellbeing in our industry, and do all we can to support people through, and out of the current crisis.”

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