Mental health resources are available to everyone in the entertainment industry, but not everyone knows where to find them or how to access them. To address that, the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, in partnership with the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Actors Fund, have joined the Behind the Scenes Foundation’s mental health initiative to provide tools and resources to not only help employers and individuals, but also to assist their colleagues, friends and family members.
“Mental health has been a major issue in the entertainment industry that isn’t discussed openly unless it involves a high-profile performer,” said Samantha Stepleton, director of social services for the Will Rogers foundation. “Two years ago, we surveyed over 3,000 industry members across the United States and developed a wide range of resources in response to what we learned. We felt compelled to create a bullying, harassment and intimidation campaign after an overwhelming number of comments which pointed to aggressive and belittling behavior, yelling, discrimination and retaliation. Bullying takes a toll on mental health for everyone in the workplace. One industry member shared that ‘Emotional abuse is part of the culture.’”
The survey of nearly 3,500 entertainment industry workers found that when asked about the most significant stressors in their work lives, 78% identified fatigue as the primary source. The vast majority of respondents also reported feelings of anxiety (91%) and depression (82%) – and that was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and made job insecurity even more stressful.
“The survey demonstrated the role work pressure plays in increased anxiety, depression, substance misuse and other mental health issues. Our goal is to normalize the conversation around mental health in the industry and to provide resources, which also include suicide prevention materials, an entertainment industry therapist finder, short ‘talks’ employers can use to introduce language about mental health in the workplace, online behavioral self-assessments, and mental health education classes tailored specifically for the entertainment industry.”
More information on where to find help here.