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Take action this World Mental Health Day

10 October 2023

THE SCALE of reported work-related stress across the UK economy has been increasing year on year, and Britain’s workplace regulator is campaigning for employers to take action.

As the world acknowledges World Mental Health Day, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) welcomes three new partners to its Working Minds campaign, which urges workplaces to take action on work related stress and mental health.

All three new partners joining Working Minds campaign are in the entertainment and leisure sector – an industry which by its very nature, is fast paced and changeable with many being self-employed, freelancers or contracted for set amounts of time.

This can result in lots of uncertainty and  long and unsociable hours. In the Looking Glass ’22 survey conducted by the Film and TV Charity only 11% described the industry as a mentally healthy place to work.

The Mark Milsome Foundation, The Association of British Theatre Technicians and The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, will now join 23 Working Minds partners across different industries to raise awareness of the support available and the campaign’s key messages.

The law requires all employers to prevent work related stress to support good mental health in the workplace. No matter the size or type of business, employers have a legal duty to ensure risks of stress and mental ill-health are considered  in health and safety risk assessments and acted upon. Measures should be put in place to prevent stress and support workers’ mental health.

World Mental Health Day (10 October) has been celebrated for over 30 years, and whilst awareness and acceptance of stress and mental health may be increasing, action – particularly prevention – is not. Stress, depression and anxiety are the number one cause of work-related ill-health in Great Britain.

Elizabeth Goodwill, head of work-related stress and mental health policy team at HSE said, “Small actions done routinely can make a huge difference to how stress and mental health issues are  recognised and responded to where you work. Employers should make it routine to check in with individuals and teams about pressures they’re facing and agree actions to help prevent and address them.

“Some of the most common issues are workload pressures, tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support. Taking action doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, your response can be small things that make a big difference. For example, making sure you have regular catch ups to discuss workload and how the team can share the load or helping to prioritise work and deadlines.

“Taking an organisational approach that tackles the root cause of work related stress is key and can help the whole team rather than just an individual, and you may be able to take one action that helps a number of people.”

For guidance on managing workplace stress and talking to workers about it, see our Working Minds campaign.

Samantha Wainstein, The Mark Milsome Foundation chair says, “At the heart of our mission is the commitment to make film and TV sets safe for all cast and crew, by advocating for better health and safety practice across the industry and collaborating with partners to raise awareness about key issues that need to be addressed. A fundamental part of our advocacy is emphasising the importance of wellbeing and happiness on set, as this plays an integral role in ensuring the safety of both cast and crew.”

Mig Burgess, The Association of British Theatre Technicians co-chair says, “The ABTT are delighted to join the HSE’s working minds campaign as a partner. As an association we are committed to upholding standards in technical excellence, safety, and compliance for live performance, and partnering with the HSE and its working minds campaign formalises our commitment to promote better practices around well-being and mental health in the workplace.”

Paul Kelly, chief executive of The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions says, “Mental health must be a top priority for our industry, especially following a few very difficult years for staff and customers. As an association, we are committed to providing the information, resources and tools that our members need – supporting them to support their teams.”

Help is available

If you or someone you know needs help or support, reach out and ask how they are feeling and coping. There are tools and sources of support out there that can help.

Sign up to support HSE’s Working Minds campaign to help drive positive change across Britain’s workplaces.

Work in entertainment or leisure?

Contact Film & TV charity for confidential and free support for anyone working behind the scenes in film, TV or cinema. Support Line 0800 054 0000.

The Mark Milsome Foundation – Film and TV Online Safety Passport Course (90 minutes)

Association of Event Venues – Heads up: your wellbeing tool kit

Read the Blog from Mig Burgess, teacher, Creative Designer and Production Technician on her summer commitment to learn more about work-related stress and the guidance note she created for The Association of British Theatre Technicians.