ScreenSkills marks Mental Health Awareness Week

© 2018 Disney Enterprises Inc/ Laurie Sparham

ScreenSkills will mark Mental Health Awareness Week with training designed to highlight issues for the film and television industry and what can be done to address them as well as new e-learning designed to help tackle bullying and harassment.

Next week’s programme will begin on Monday morning with a discussion around the perceptions and reality of a culture of fear in television and practical tips on tackling it. The session will be led by Adeel Amini of TV Mindset, an initiative designed to provide professional and peer support for film and TV freelancers, with Sam Jukes-Adams, a former head of production.

Other sessions include examining the difficult issue of suicide and suicide prevention.  ScreenSkills has teamed up with Solas Mind, a specialist mental health company led by Sarah McCaffrey who has extensive experience of working in film and high-end TV as a training manager and a background as a psychotherapist. She launched Solas Mind to provide effective counselling services, mental health talks, suicide and mental health first aid training to those working in film and TV.

Dr Paul Litchfield, an expert in occupational mental health who has been working with ITV on issues including duty of care, returns to the ScreenSkills programme with a session on mental health and lockdown living.  A previous session – which can be watched online - sold out. The second in a session of practical money and life skills seminars for film freelancers will also look at managing feelings and anxieties created by the lockdown. First aid for freelancers #2 Mind will be led by Dr Alison Kahn and supported by Alison Grade, author of The Freelance Bible.

A different approach will be offered by mental health first aid trainer Jude Spencer with a Creating Kindness Workshop in keeping with the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which is focusing on kindness. The workshop will look at how to nurture kindness in our lives, the psychology behind kindness and how to create a kinder future.

The Film and TV Charity’s Lucy Tallon will also explore looking after your mental wellbeing in a session explaining what the charity is doing to support industry workers through and beyond the current crisis and the advice systems then have on offer. Their recent research, published shortly before Covid-19 hit the industry, found one in 10 people working in film and TV scored the maximum on a loneliness scale and 87% of the film and TV workforce have experienced a mental health problem – higher than the 65% UK-wide figure.

All these sessions are in addition to daily yoga/pilates and the Daily Cuppa sessions which have been running since the beginning of lockdown where Jude Spencer invites people to join her happiness hour, to shoot the breeze, have a rant, a cry or a laugh with.

ScreenSkills is also launching new e-learning on how to identify and tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace. The ScreenSkills' Tackling Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace e-learning module builds on the principles and zero tolerance guidelines developed with organisations across film, television and games industries by the BFI and BAFTA in 2018 and fulfills a clear need for relevant and appropriate training for people to identify and tackle harassment and bullying behaviour in others and themselves. The support recognises that the nature of the screen industries means workers are often working without a clear human resources infrastructure in place to regulate or offer guidance to workers.

 This interactive module:

  • develops understanding of the benefits of nurturing a workplace free from harassment and bullying
  • shows how we are responsible for our behaviour towards others, help us recognise incidents of harassment and bullying
  • identifies the difference between harassment and bullying and offer guidance on how to challenge harassment and bullying in the workplace.

 The module is available on the ScreenSkills website via mobile phone, tablet and desk or laptop, empowering everyone in the screen industries to engage with the content irrespective of their employment status. It has been designed to be inclusive and relevant to everyone working in screen from the most junior runner to a CEO.

It was developed in partnership with Femi Otitoju, founder and managing director of Challenge Consultancy, experts in legislation, policy and training in diversity and inclusion with 30 years of experience in the field.

 The online sessions have been supported by the TV Skills Fund, with contributions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of the Future Film Skills programme, and the Indie Training Fund.  The BFI also supported the development of the bullying and harassment module.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 18 to 24 May.

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