What’s a wellbeing meeting all about?
A wellbeing meeting is about setting the right tone for the production and putting foundations in place for respecting and protecting mental health.
It’s also an opportunity for the senior team to agree their approach to wellbeing as well as discuss ways to communicate it, share best practice and lead by example.
There’s no right or wrong way to run the meeting.
Whatever the size of production, and however many, or few, resources you have, making time and space for discussions can make a huge difference to all involved.
Planning a successful meeting
Ideally, hold your wellbeing meeting before recruiting your production crew or filming starts, so you can consider your wellbeing approach in detail with decision-makers.
Discuss wellbeing matters, including your production company’s policies and procedures, and attitudes towards inappropriate behaviour and mental health support, as well as your team’s ways of working.
Start a mental health risk assessment (MHRA) before this meeting, or discuss preparing one during it, to help identify potential risks to your crew’s wellbeing or mental health.
The meeting should be led by someone with a senior role on the production, such as a production exec, head of production or executive producer.
The meeting should also include producers, directors, heads of department and those in senior roles in post-production, if applicable, such as post-production producers and post supervisors.
Appoint someone to take notes and circulate a summary afterwards, so that you have a record of agreed decisions, actions and responsibilities.
So…what’s the aim?
The aim of a wellbeing meeting is to find solutions for potential mental health and wellbeing issues to help create a psychologically safe psychologically safe – psychological safety refers to the belief that one will not be punished, ridiculed or rejected for speaking up with questions, ideas, concerns or mistakes. Close environment for you and your crew.
There may be certain challenges that can’t be resolved, but you have the power to explore potential solutions together.
At the meeting, ensure everyone communicates with transparency, respect and in an appropriate tone of voice – and empower everyone to share their thoughts.
Ideally, the meeting should be face-to-face, although for convenience and to increase accessibility, it could be done remotely.
In the following guide you can:
- Identify the key skills needed for you and your teams to talk openly about mental health.
Agenda ideas – what to cover
The below agenda is just a guide – you may need to hold this meeting in a different way due to time pressures or team availability.
Your meeting should cover:
An assessment of the production’s needs:
- Discuss preparing a mental health risk assessment or review your findings if you’ve already carried one out.
- Agree a budget that can be ring-fenced for mental health support.
- Include costs for any additional roles to support the production, such as a wellbeing facilitator or independent counsellor.
- If you’re working to a tight schedule, outline how you’ll manage the working hours of your team.
- Discuss communication boundaries – define offline periods, such as late at night or on weekends, when WhatsApp communication is paused and only urgent messages are sent or emergency calls are made.
- Consider any specific support you need to offer based on your production’s content.
- If the content includes intimate scenes, you might want to hire an intimacy coordinator to ensure agreement and consent is always adhered to.
- If your project includes a storyline related to mental health, you can contact Mind’s media advisory team for advice on how to portray mental health on-screen without perpetuating stigma.
- To understand more about duty of care and safeguarding, read our guidance on supporting those working with sensitive content.
Bullying and harassment:
- Discuss your bullying and harassment policies and procedures, ensuring you have a policy of listening to anyone who has raised an issue or grievance, and make it clear who your team should speak with if there’s an issue.
- Before your meeting, read our guidance on bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- Share your thoughts on expected conduct and encourage everyone at the meeting to do the same to ensure you all agree on your production’s values.
- Discuss what support your teams can access and address any new needs.
- Highlight the Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 0000, which is a free and independent 24/7 service providing counselling, legal and financial advice.
- Agree on which apps, such as Call It! or The Time Project, will be offered on the production.
- Examine whether all your recruitment practices are fair, open, transparent and promote diversity.
- For help with this see our mini guide on building inclusive recruitment and flexible working practices.
Ways of working:
- Discuss job sharing and flexible working as a way of creating more opportunities within each team.
- Be mindful of unmanageable workloads, especially for junior roles, who might find it particularly difficult to speak up.
- Consider whether there is any crucial training all senior team members should undertake.
- Establish who will be taking the mental health first aid training.
After your wellbeing meeting – next steps
At the end of the meeting, allocate responsibility for actioning agreed decisions and making sure everyone knows what happens next.
Most importantly, decide how you’re going to communicate your approach to the crew and who will be responsible for it.
On a busy production, think about how to save time when communicating – but ensure mental health and wellbeing messages are given due prominence.
For example, will you send out important documents about wellbeing together or simply include them in emails about contracts?
For more on this, see our mini guide: Communicate your wellbeing plan to your team.
As we regularly review Toolkit content, if you have any suggestions to improve this guide, or any part of the site, we would love to hear from you.