Better mental health behind the scenes

You spoke up for yourself and your crew, we listened

In 2019 the first edition of our ground-breaking Looking Glass research found that 9 in 10 people working in film, TV and cinema in the UK had experienced a mental health problem – compared to 65% in the population as a whole (Source: Mental Health Foundation, 2017). Shockingly more than half (55%) of respondents had considered taking their own life. These findings indicated a mental health emergency in our industry, with its roots in the ‘3 Cs’ of poor working CONDITIONS (including very long hours); an entrenched CULTURE of bullying and stigma around mental health; and a lack of CAPABILITY across the industry to support people.

The Whole Picture Programme was launched in October 2020 as the urgent response to that crisis, with support from an incredible range of industry organisations.

 

Learn more about what we’re doing 

 

The Looking Glass: tracking mental health in film and TV

In February 2022 we released the data from the second Looking Glass survey conducted in 2021.

There was positive news as headline wellbeing and mental health measures remained stable compared to 2019, and signs of optimism that the tide is indeed beginning to turn, with mental health more openly discussed than ever before.

However, behind the headlines there were some difficult findings, with the production boom bringing opportunity but also incredibly long hours and the inevitable mental health impacts, with 78% saying that work intensity had negatively affected their mental health compared with 63% in the 2019 survey.

Bad behaviours abound or even flourish in this environment and it is alarming to find that the majority of respondents (57%) had experienced bullying, sexual harassment, racial harassment or discrimination, or other forms of harassment or discrimination in the past year alone. Four in 10 (39%) of Black, Asian and minority ethnic respondents had experienced racial harassment or discrimination (which like all forms of harassment and discrimination relating to a protected characteristic are illegal) – which had caused 43% of them to consider leaving the industry.

Half (51%) of respondents said that culture and values had a negative impact on mental health compared with 29% in 2019. In this context it’s perhaps not surprising that only 10% of respondents agreed that the industry is a mentally healthy place to work.

The risk of a ‘leaky bucket’ is very real. In 2019 we found that 63% had ever considered leaving the industry due to mental health concerns, but the 2021 data show that 65% had considered leaving in the past year; and that this rose to a shocking 74% of disabled respondents.

 

Read the full Looking Glass Report ’21 

 

The third edition of the Looking Glass will be conducted in 2022, and run every two years thereafter.

The Looking Glass ‘19 report by the Work Foundation

The Looking Glass ’19 data tables by the Work Foundation

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What you can do today

Check out the Support Line

The Support Line is free, confidential and 24/7 - get in touch and tell your friends and colleagues

Get in touch

Boost your wellbeing

If you’re overwhelmed with stress or anxiety, or perhaps struggling to deal with the death of a loved one, there are positive steps you can take.

Improve your mental health

Stand against bullying

Bullying takes many forms, and it’s upsetting to experience or to witness. No matter what you’re dealing with, we’re here to help.

Take the first steps

As well as taking care of yourself, it’s important to support other people around you. Jump in, get involved and share information about the wealth of services that we offer with your friends and colleagues.

Ways to support others

Share our 24/7 Support Line

Why not pop our Support Line number on your email footer, call sheet or COVID-19 signs, to help ensure your colleagues know support is available?

Get the logos

Join in, Let’s Reset

Team up with others across the industry who share our concern for the mental health of the workforce. Our hope is that, together, we can all create an unstoppable movement for positive change.

Drive cultural change

"Remember to ask twice"

10 ways to help someone in crisis and advice on talking about suicide from Lucy Tallon, our Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Read more

None of this would be possible without the foresight and commitment of our generous funders and Taskforce members: Amazon Prime Video, Banijay, BBC, BBC Studios, the BFI, Channel 4, The Walt Disney Company, IMG, ITV, Sky, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia, and the support of our strategic partner Mind.

In partnership with

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the thousands of people who took part in 2019’s The Looking Glass and entrusted us with their private stories in the hope of changing the industry they love for the better. The Whole Picture Programme report has been vital in building this action for change. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Industry and external delivery partners

If you or your organisation shares our passion and you’d like to show your support, please get in touch.

Find out more