The coronavirus outbreak has left much of the television workforce idle, with most TV production suspended since March. Freelancers, who account for 100,000 of the total TV and film workforce of 180,000, have been dealt the rawest of deals. They have been hit hardest by the lockdown – 93% are out of work, according to The Film and TV Charity.
Nearly nine in every 10 people working in the sector have experienced mental health problems, according to research from The Film and TV Charity, which co-hosted the online event in early June.
“That is significantly higher than the UK population as a whole, where the figure is 65%,” said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the charity. “There is a much higher prevalence of mental health problems for people working within film and television.”
She added: “More than half of people working in the industry have considered taking their own life.”
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The panel will discuss mental and financial wellbeing, and look at practical issues such as how to maintain connections, seek job opportunities and make the most of your time. We will also ask what changes are needed in the sector to ensure that working in TV remains a viable option in the longer term.
Freddie Flintoff On Bulimia will see Flintoff try to understand the causes and impact of his personal struggles with bulimia and explore why eating disorders are so hidden in men.
The famous cricketer will talk to experts and men suffering from the illness to learn about the reality of being a man with an eating disorder.
Flintoff has gone from being one of Britain’s best loved sporting heroes to having a successful screen career, which includes the coveted role as a Top Gear presenter.
Actor David Harewood spoke about his bumpy road to success – including the tough life lessons he learned from Spike Lee and from Erik Estrada of CHiPs – in a candid and entertaining homecoming evening in Birmingham.
During the RTS Midlands’ “In conversation with…” event, the Homeland star enthralled the audience in the prestigious surroundings of the Council House’s Banqueting Suite.
The charity has launched the first ever industry-wide study, The Looking Glass, to get an insight into the wellbeing and mental health of those working in the TV and film industry and how could they be supported better.
The launch is accompanied by a short film titled Smashed? starring Alex Reece, which has been created by music video director Tim Pope and voiced by actor Adrian Lester.
The death of Steve Dymond following his appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show last month is a sombre lesson on the power that television has over people’s lives.
The participant on the controversial daytime programme had failed a lie-detector test, having been accused of infidelity by his fiancée. Following his death, the show was initially taken off air and then axed by ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall.
The long-running Lime Pictures soap for young adults has been widely praised for its portrayal of mental ill health. Storylines have addressed depression and bulimia and, earlier this year, self-harm, which ended with the death of the character, Lily McQueen, from sepsis.
“My mum took her own life when I was seven and I later lost my dad to addiction,” Kirkwood said. “More than mental ill health, it was the silence that crippled us. Nobody ever spoke about it.
The event will focus on the general (freelance-centric) workforce in the TV industry and the mental health issues they may experience. It will also look at how companies can be “good employers”, and will highlight good examples of on-screen representation of mental health in general.