The Film And TV Charity Launches Mental Health Campaign Amidst Industry Reckoning

The Film and TV charity has pioneered a sweeping campaign aimed at broadcasters and major production companies to combat the mental health issues statistically proven to be plaguing the industry.

The scheme titled, Let’s Reset, will require all entities involved to publicly submit plans of action to make sure their workplace environments hold mental health at their forefront. 

Furthermore, there will be widespread education on several aspects of improving environments for mental health including keeping an inclusive environment, best practices and their importance, misconceptions, professional conduct and conversations, plus demonstrating why a healthy environment is such a key factor to running a successful company or team. 

The initiative was backed by data from the Looking Glass survey taken by the charity which identified that 9 in 10 people working behind the camera had suffered a mental health problem through work. Workplace conditions and culture was the primary reason for a majority of the respondents' troubles. 

The campaign launches during mental health awareness week and is supported by entities linked to the charity including the BBC, NBCUniversal, Amazon Prime Video, WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS, IMG and Sony Pictures. 

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said on the campaign and current situation, “People in the film and 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.”

Strike action 

The news of the movement comes amidst the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) who represent film and television crew members throughout North America voting for a strike on Monday. 

With the news, over 60,000 crew members could walk out of their jobs leaving productions run by players including Netflix NFLX -3.8%, Disney+, Apple TV+, Warner Bros. Pictures and Columbia Pictures in crisis. It would be the first strike of its kind in the union’s 128-year history

Mental health once again played a major factor in the union’s requests to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Televisions Producers (AMPTP) who represent producers with studios. 

Issues that arose included excessively harmful working hours and conditions, a lack of rest periods and lunch breaks, and a lowered standard of fair wages with IATSE president Matthew Loeb emphasizing after an almost unanimous vote for striking from the group’s members, “This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry.”

Further reporting 

A new Looking Glass report is set to launch from the Film and TV Charity at the end of October revealing the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the industry. 

Two elements taken from the report are that four in five workers believe the intensity of work in the industry is harming their mental health and that only 10% of respondents believed the industry - in its present format - is a mentally beneficial profession to work in. 

Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer at the BBC, doubled down on the support of the Film and TV Charity’s campaign: “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.”