Mental health awareness in the film & TV industry & the call for Wellbeing Facilitators

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Leo Anna Thomas
Leo Anna Thomas signed this petition

I, Leo Anna Thomas created this online petition back in 2017, I was at the very beginning of this story, and the journey of being a mental health advocate. Jump forward to 2020 and we all live in a very changed world. With more moments to take pause, I would like to share what achievements have already been accomplished and who has joined me along the way.

When this petition was set up there was little awareness, if any, of the mental health crisis within the industry, and the results of the Film & TV Charity Wellbeing survey confirmed this crisis in February 2020. The main incentive of this advocacy work stemmed from there being nine suicides in under three years (that I know of) within the industry. Two of whom were friends of mine.

I am a fully certified Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and have utilised this role on three productions, 'His Dark Materials', 'Trigonometry' and 'Small Axe' (As a duel role alongside being a Standby Art Director). Using the skills I was taught in this training, and combining Dialectical Behaviour Therapy skills; along with most recently my i-Act Manager skills, myself and Matt Longley of https://www.6ftfrom.org/ are developing a new role of Wellbeing Facilitator (WBF) along with training for HoD’s.

Signing this petition will help show your support for training HoD's and the need for a new role like WBF to become mandatory across all productions. Lets get as many signatures as possible because this will make a difference.

This vital role was about to be trialled on a BFI funded feature film in April 2020, unfortunately Covid19 has postponed this, but it shall still go ahead, soon. Life returning to work shall be quite different, for all of us, and with the statistics showing that there has been a 40% rise in anxiety across the nation, this role is needed now more than ever. Please help make this role a reality we can all access.

If you would like to know more about this initiative and its success so far (as shown in written testimonials) please see my Go Fund Me page https://gofundme.com/mentalhealthinfilm

To give you a better understanding as to how crew utilised the availability of this role, I was approached by at least 15-20 members of crew, and cast, on a recent 5-week shoot.  I have experienced first-hand the positive effects this role has on crew and cast.

You can find out more about what myself and Matt Longley are doing, via our podcasts.  Please listen at https://soundcloud.com/mentalhealthinfilm or type 'mental health in film' into Spotify. And the training we are developing here https://www.screenskills.com/insight/masterclasses/leo-anna-thomas/

Thank you, take care and be kind to yourselves x