Nine in 10 film and TV workers report mental health problems

Almost nine in 10 people working in the film and TV industry have experienced a mental health problem, a major study has revealed.

The finding forms part of the Film and TV Charity’s new report, The Looking Glass.

According to the research, which comprised of 9,000 respondents in development, production, post-production, VFX and animation, broadcasting, distribution and cinema roles, 87 per cent of industry workers have suffered from a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression.

For perspective, around 65 per cent of the general population have experienced a mental problem.

Around half of participants, meanwhile, have “considered taking their own life”, while one in 10 have “taken steps to end their life”. Those most at risk of suicide would identify as black and ethnic minority (BAME), LGBTQ+, or disabled.

Additionally, workers in film and TV are “twice as likely to experience anxiety” compared with the national average, and “three times as likely” to have self-harmed.

When asked what the biggest challenges in the workplace are, workers most commonly cited conditions of work, industry culture, and its capability to provide mental health support.

Commenting on the study, Alex Pumfrey, Chief Executive of The Film and TV Charity, said: “I’m pleased to be working with the members of the new Film and TV Taskforce on Mental Health to spearhead a movement for change. Devastating though the findings from our research are, we firmly believe there is cause for optimism.

“As a cohort, we are committed to working closely together to address the widespread issues, building an industry that has ‘great work’; where people are much better supported, in which bullying and the stigma of mental health is relegated to history; and where working practices take account of the very human nature of our work. As the charity supporting the film, TV and cinema workforce we often hear the stories that others don’t. We can no longer shy away from the need for real change.”

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