The Mark Milsome Foundation - Film and TV Online Safety Passport Course

10 videos, 1 hour and 14 minutes

Course Content

Mental Health

Video 9 of 10
12 min 8 sec
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If you are concerned about your own mental health issues but are unsure where to start, The Film and TV Charity have a wellbeing ‘CHECK IN’ that allows you to take a brief assessment of your mood, energy and frustrations. They also offer support on a wide range of wellbeing, practical and financial issue via the Film and TV Support Line which is free, confidential, and available 24/7 on 0800 054 0000. They also have support via a CHAT function. They also have a freelancer wellbeing hub that includes support for freelancers on common stressors in the industry and advice on how to manage them including:  Improving your sleep, building a support network, improving physical health, prioritising time to relax, support for bullying, racism and harassment, managing difficult conversations, financial worries, low moods and anxiety. No one can read your mind, so you need to speak up and let people know how you feel. Exploring the Film and Television support Hub will help you understand why you might be struggling and what you can start to do about it.

If you are working with someone who causes you stress or anxiety then start by remembering that the industry is made up of relatively short periods of work. Keep a professional distance, you may never have to work with that  person again. Try not to get involved in arguments, avoid swearing or raising your voice. Get your point across politely and be respectful of others. Try to speak with the person privately and respectfully, highlighting the problem and calmly offering a resolution. If that doesn’t help, then discuss the issue with your head of department, your first AD or producer. If nothing improves, consider raising a formal complaint with ACAS who will help explain your options and your rights. Avoid work gossip, it might appear to be a way of bonding but it can lead to a strain on relationships and cause conflict and upset.

Fear can contribute to levels of stress on a film set. If a producer is nervous about approaching the director to ask that they reduce their ambition for a scene, if they are nervous to point out Health and Safety concerns, then instead of that problem being resolved, it adds to the stress and anxiety for the whole crew and heightens danger. Producers and directors have a responsibility to consider the crew and their health and safety above any creative ambition. Addiction and dependency can often be present with mental health issues. Dependency on alcohol, drugs or medication might appear to help deal with the pressures in the short term but nothing is more productive than talking to someone at the earliest opportunity. If you suspect a colleague is struggling with addiction on any level, try to find time to have a private word and support them, they may at first deny anything is wrong or disagree with you but try to encourage them to talk to someone.

There are also online communities where you can find support such as MIND’s ‘Side by Side’ or in ‘Peer Support Directory’ where you can talk openly about your issues.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination are unacceptable in any workplace but that is not to say you will never experience it or witness it, so you need to prepare yourself for how you will react if you do. Bullying can be physical, verbal or mental. It might be shouting, the use of sarcasm or refusing to praise any level of effort, constantly criticising or singling out an individual. It might be as simple as tutting and rolling eyes when someone’s name is mentioned in an attempt to label them within a peer group.

No matter what form it takes, your employer has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to stop it and if they don’t, they are breaking the law.

The Film and Television Charity have an excellent support Hub for film and TV freelancers with 24/7 phone and chat line. You might  also be entitled to their free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions or Bereavement counselling after the loss of a loved one. They offer other Talking treatments and expert advice on Bullying, harassment and discrimination.

In the Modern Film and Television industry you have actual, physical options to make a change in a completely safe, secure and anonymous way. The Film and Television Charity offers support incorporating SPOT. A system to record details, emails and screenshots of issues that concern you, details that can only be viewed privately, unless you decide to share them at a later date and take things further. There is also now an APP you can download called ‘Call It’ that empowers crew and production to confidentially call out instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination.  You are invited to use a traffic-light system to let producers know how you feel you are being treated, whether you have experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination on any given working day.  The APP user remains anonymous, while the account holder, the producer or authorised exec, has access to a live dashboard and data. If ‘Red Flags’ start to appear then the producer is aware that crew or production feel mistreated and can take corrective action early. Created in the UK, the app aims to ‘open up conversations, empower workers, signpost support and facilitate improved working conditions across the industry.’