Actions you can take
Download our guide to producing a wellbeing pack and send out the pack to new starters. It will help you to think about the information to include about mental health for crew. It doesn’t have to be long and could include: the Wellbeing or Welfare Policy, Bullying and Harassment Policy, helpful support numbers, suggested apps, advice and tips on healthy habits and promoting a healthy work/life balance. Sending it out with contracts is a good way to ensure they have everything they need from the start, but you may want to send it out earlier if there’s a delay with contracts.
Suggest they fill in this quick and easy ‘Working Well with Me’ template after they have reviewed their wellbeing pack and familiarised themselves with the production’s approach. It’s not too intrusive, but crew should feel free to say if they don’t want to do it. It is considered best practice to share yours with your team first, so they have an idea of what to include. Our Looking Glass research showed that people from underrepresented groups or those facing additional barriers in the workplace such as disabled people, or people with caring responsibilities, were more exposed to factors associated with greater risk of workplace stress and low wellbeing. Giving your crew the opportunity to outline their support or access needs from the outset can help mitigate these risk factors and help create an inclusive work environment. This should go alongside conversations with every new starter about whether they require any reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
Share details of The Film and TV Charity’s free 24/7 Support Line on 0800 054 0000. If this is all that your budget allows, it’s a good place to start. Tell your crew about the support that can be accessed through this confidential phone line. This includes legal and financial advice, support for those experiencing or witnessing bullying and up to six free sessions of private therapy, in person or on the phone. You could even consider adding the Support Line number to your email signature. People who use British Sign Language as their first or preferred language can speak to a BSL-trained advisor in real time by selecting this option in Live Chat. If the BSL advisor is unavailable, users are given the option of booking an appointment between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Mental Health First Aider and on-set WellBeing Facilitators are trained to provide people with a safe space to start a confidential conversation about mental health and show them where to find the most appropriate support. Make sure people know who they should talk to if they have concerns about their own or others’ mental health. You may not have the resources in your production to have either of these roles, in which case name someone in a senior role who feels comfortable and confident listening and signposting to appropriate support.
This could be bespoke therapy for people working on the production. It could be an Employee Assistance Programme if you have one, in which case be clear about who it applies to (e.g., anyone who interacts with contributors/talent, including hair and make-up/craft, not just those in editorial roles) and when (before, during or after production). Also provide details of Access to Work support for mental health.
Perhaps you could give access to online or in-person classes. Exercise is proven to have many health benefits and there are plenty of free options you can share with crew. This encourages people to look after their physical health, which is linked with mental health. Make sure that you consider all employees, including those with disabilities, when making recommendations.