Film+ TV Charity

Seeing The Whole Picture

September 18th, 2023

September 18th, 2023

Founded as a benevolent fund that cared for its own, for the last 99 years, the Film and TV Charity has helped people overcome a spectrum of personal and professional challenges.  Its renowned fundraising Royal Film Performances were attended by film stars and members of the Royal Family, including the late Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth II.  In recent times, the need to improve work-life balance and working culture has lead them to advocate for a more supportive and diverse industry.  Warpaint catches up with them to find out how.

Film+ TV Charity

Film and TV Charity

Working behind the scenes of the UK film, TV and cinema industry, the Film and TV Charity has long been supporting the lives of everyone involved – from researchers to writers, people in casting and on productions, to those in post-production, sales, distribution and exhibition.  With its roots in the early days of cinema, it offers a wide range of support with mental health, financial and social wellbeing to people who have talent, spark and dedication and yet find obstacles in their way.   The team explains that building strategic partnerships across the industry is another way it is bringing about positive change.

Film+ TV Charity

24/7 Film and TV Support Line

“In 2018, we launched a free, 24/7 Film and TV Support Line, offering access to legal and financial advice and counselling to anyone who needs it.  Acting on the insight gained here, we sent out our Looking Glass surveys which uncovered what we’d suspected – that there’s a mental health crisis in the industry,” the team makes clear.  This was followed up with the Whole Picture Programme, which was a two-year initiative with the support and involvement of production companies, broadcasters and other industry leaders that came to a close in September 2022.

The detailed final report was published that December – and shows that change is beginning to happen. Two years in, 80% of survey respondents sensed a positive change in culture.  Mental wellbeing indicators have improved a little and there’s been a significant decrease in people saying they experienced bullying and harassment.

“That’s not the same as saying the problems have been solved, and with only 11% describing the industry as a mentally healthy place to work, we cannot afford to get complacent about the amount of work there is still to be done.  In the future, we will repeat the Looking Glass Survey every two years so we can continue to track change,” says the team.

Film+ TV Charity

Whole Picture Toolkit

Key to this is The Whole Picture Toolkit for mentally healthy productions – a guide to how the industry can action changes.  It was developed from research from the Whole Picture Programme and data from the Looking Glass Surveys.  A free to use website, it’s a practical yet powerful resource that gives anyone working in production – from large scale productions to those on a shoestring – the tools they need to improve working environments and the industry’s wider approach to mental health.  This includes:

  •    Creating a wellbeing plan and mental health risk assessment
    • How to include wellbeing messages throughout production
    • How to support a team’s training needs
    • Planning for rest and time off
    • Debriefing senior leaders

The Charity’s Mental Health Task Force comprises senior leaders from Amazon, Banijay, BBC, BBC Studios, BFI, Channel 4, Disney, IMG, ITV Studios, Sky, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia.  It has been developed with the support of organisations including Apple, Leopard Pictures, Mini Productions, Offspring, See-Saw Films and many more.

Film+ TV Charity

One of The Changemakers, Seetha Kumar, Chief Executive at ScreenSkills, said, “I think what’s been absolutely brilliant is the power of collaboration, the power of partnership, the power of acknowledging, yes, there is a problem.  And we’ve acknowledged this problem, and we are all collectively working together to try and do something about it.”

Film+ TV Charity

“There is a real problem around mental health, and so this piece of work has been really crucial for pulling together all of the resources across the industry, that productions can use to make sure they support their freelancers, and make sure that it is a healthy production,” says Philippa Childs, Head of BECTU.  “We want to be part of the solution to bring the industry into a place where people are not suffering quite so badly.”

Here is more information on the most recent data from the Looking Glass ’22 report.

You can access The Whole Picture Toolkit: For Mentally Healthy Productions and help improve the mental wellbeing in the industry by visiting



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By Emma Rutherford

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