U.K. philanthropic body The Film and TV Charity has published a toolkit promoting mental well-being within the screen industry.
Titled “The Whole Picture Toolkit: For Mentally Healthy Productions,” it aims to “support and enable healthy working practices” within the industry and to destimatize poor mental health caused by working in the industry.
The toolkit, which is part of a 12 month campaign to change the industry’s working culture, was developed alongside leaders of the industry dubbed “the change makers” (some of whom are pictured above). They’re comprised of industry partners and bodies, individual trailblazers, mental health experts, and sector practitioners who are trying to engender within the industry.
The toolkit offers guidance, expert advice, resources and best practice guides via a free-to-use website and the hope is that by the end of 2022 at least 100 productions will commit to incorporating it into their projects.
Subjects within it include:
• Creating a wellbeing plan and mental health risk assessment
• How to include wellbeing messages throughout production
• How to support a team’s training needs
• Planning for rest and time off
• Debriefing senior leaders
Last month the Film and TV Charity published the Looking Glass ’21 report, which showed that bullying, harassment and discrimination were rife within the industry.
“Our recent release of Looking Glass ’21 shows that there is still a long way to go to improve the industry’s mental health, but The Whole Picture Toolkit represents a pivotal moment on that journey,” said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity. “Those who adopt the toolkit as a whole or in part are immediately grasping the challenge of changing behaviours, adopting healthier working practices, and making a real, practical difference.”
“Now, we want to see the toolkit put to work and hope to reach the milestone of 100 productions doing so by the end of 2022, each one of them sending a vital message to people working behind the scenes – only 10 per cent of whom currently believe the industry is a mentally healthy place to work.”
Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive at ScreenSkills and one of the changemakers involved in the project, said: “I think what’s been absolutely brilliant is the power of collaboration, the power of partnership, the power of acknowledging, yes, there is a problem. And we’ve acknowledged this problem, and we are all collectively working together to try and do something about it.”
Philippa Childs, head of below-the-line union Bectu, added: “There is a real problem around mental health, and so this piece of work has been really crucial for pulling together all of the resources across the industry, that productions can use to make sure they support their freelancers, and make sure that it is a healthy production. We want to be part of the solution to bring the industry into a place where people are not suffering quite so badly.”
The Whole Picture Toolkit is supported by The Film and TV Charity’s Mental Health Task Force, comprising senior leaders from Amazon, Banijay, BBC, BBC Studios, BFI, Channel 4, Disney, IMG, ITV Studios, Sky, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia. It has been developed with the support of organisations including Apple, Leopard Pictures, Mini Productions, Offspring, See-Saw Films and many more.
It can be accessed at wholepicturetoolkit.org.uk.