U.K.’s Film and TV Charity Launches Free Online Mental Health Resource

The Film and TV Charity Launches
Film and TV Charity

U.K. industry org The Film and TV Charity has launched a free online resource for workers in film, TV and cinema who are seeking mental health support amid the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Launching Monday, at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, the online community resource has been developed by Big White Wall and can be accessed for free by everyone working behind the scenes in film and TV.

The online tool is designed to provide a safe space for industry professionals, allowing them to express their concerns anonymously.

They can also access guided self-help courses on managing mental health difficulties, including depression, stress, panic and grief, as well as problem-solving and assertiveness training.

The platform can be accessed via the charity’s website at filmtvcharity.org.uk/community.

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the charity says it is now accelerating its mental health action plan, known as the Whole Picture Program.

Launched in February after a survey for the Film and TV Charity found 87% of the U.K. film and TV workforce has experienced a mental health problem, the action plan is being extended to increase mental health support with wellbeing services developed in partnership with Mind.

This comes as the charity distributes funds to workers and freelancers hit by the closure of productions across the U.K. A survey for The Film and TV Charity found that more than nine industry freelancers in 10 (93%) were no longer working due to the crisis while three quarters (74%) did not expect to receive any support since they were not eligible for government support schemes or had not been furloughed.

Launched last month, The Film and TV Charity’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund — providing one-off grants of between £500 ($606) and £2,500 ($3,030) — awarded a total of £3 million ($3.6 million) across 2,000 applicants.

A further £140,000 ($170,000) has been distributed via the charity’s long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people receiving stopgap grants of up to £500 ($606) covering essential living costs.

Meanwhile, the charity’s free 24-hour Film and TV Support Line, providing advice on mental health as well as financial and legal problems, received more than 1,000 calls in April, four times the average number during the two years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and Television Charity, said: “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 center 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.”