Deteriorating mental health among Jewish, Muslim and Arab industry workers

Report highlights deterioration in mental health and wellbeing among Jewish, Muslim and Arab industry workers as community representatives outline the support required 
8 May 2024 

The Film and TV Charity has published a report examining the results of its survey of Arab, Muslim, and Jewish workers affected by the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7th, 2023, the subsequent conflict in Gaza, and the unfolding humanitarian crisis that has followed.

The report is the only one of its kind measuring the impact to mental health of the conflict on the people working in the media, often at the centre of how contentious issues are covered or communities portrayed.

With 400 responses from people identifying as Jewish, Arab, or Muslim, the survey – conducted in December 2023 and January 2024 – highlights how the attacks and what has followed them has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of the vast majority of participants, with few feeling supported by their employers.

In many cases, the events in question have also surfaced a sense of discomfort in the workplace in relation to respondents’ religious and ethnic identity and has amplified previous experiences of discrimination:

  • 94% of respondents experienced a deterioration in their mental health since October 7th
  • Only 23% felt supported by their employers
  • 51% believe the industry is structurally and/​or systemically discriminatory towards their community
  • 57% believe that views and behaviours hostile to their community are common in the industry
  • Only 22% think that the industry is safe and welcoming for them
  • 55% have experienced a deterioration in their sense of wellbeing at work since October 7th

Note: the above data has been aggregated – the full report examines data from individual communities in more detail.

As reported previously, the Film and TV Charity used the survey data, and testimony from representatives from the industry’s Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities, to convene roundtable sessions with senior representatives from broadcasters, production companies, industry bodies, as well as newsroom executives and organisational EDI leads. In those sessions, Jewish, Muslim, and Arab community representatives outlined what they wanted to see from those in positions of leadership. A common thread was the need to prioritise training and improve cultural literacy to combat a lack of understanding, disturbing levels of hostility and a lack of safety being felt across all communities.

Organisations including but not limited to All3Media, BAFTA, BBC, Bectu, BFI, Channel 4, Creative Diversity Network, Directors UK, Equity, Fremantle, ITN, ITV, National Film and Television School, NBCUniversal, News UK, Prime Video UK, ScreenSkills, Sky, The Walt Disney CompanyUKTV and Warner Bros Discovery took part in the roundtable sessions. The Film and TV Charity is now working with these and wider partners to explore a pan-industry response to the issues coming from the sessions and the survey data. As part of this work, the Charity and ScreenSkills are exploring support for new, industry-wide and industry-funded training.

The results of the survey, and the recommendations from both Jewish and Arab/​Muslim community representatives are a stark indication of both the damage that has been done to the mental health of some colleagues following the events and aftermath of October 7th, and the isolation that communities across the industry are feeling.
Marcus Ryder, CEO at the Film and TV Charity 

Ryder adds, The Film and TV Charity has built a reputation for acting where evidence highlights issues that affect the mental, financial, or physical health of the industry’s workforce and so we’re keenly aware of the need to act in response to sobering data coming from the survey, and the powerful qualitative evidence that was voiced in the roundtables. The fact that all of the major players in the industry also came to the table is, we hope, indicative of a wider industry understanding of the need to respond, and so we hope that the next phase of this work will put in place the support, training, and due consideration that is so evidently needed.”

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