The UK film and TV industry is world-renowned for the skill and dedication of its technicians and craftspeople. But behind the scenes, the mental health of those in the industry has reached a crisis point. High stress levels, unhealthy working hours, and job insecurity are accepted as the norm in the industry, and all have a devastating impact on mental health and wellbeing.
The Film & TV Charity, in conjunction with the Workers’ Foundation, surveyed 10k workers across the industry to gauge attitudes towards mental health. The findings were truly shocking. Nine out of ten people surveyed had experienced a mental health problem. More than half had considered taking their own life. Clearly there's an urgent need for the industry to create change and to work together to make film and TV productions into mentally healthy environments.
Responding to the research findings, the Film & TV Charity embarked on a two-year programme to improve mental health across the industry. To support this initiative, the team briefed Thompson to design and build a website focussing on making more mentally healthy productions. That is the ultimate goal – to develop an industry that creates healthy productions, to make it custom and practice by giving incredibly busy producers the tools, skills and confidence they need to change the face of mental health on their productions. The project is for all stages, including concept development and funding through to production, post-production and distribution.
The process began with a thorough strategic review to understand the attitudes and challenges among the principal users of the site – producers who want to get the best out of their team. We provided expert UX and design input, creating a rich digital experience that informs users about the need for action and helps them navigate easily towards the tools they need to transform their productions and keep their team happier, and therefore more productive. Insights from Thompson’s deep experience in mental health also led us to challenge the site structure, particularly in reducing and reorganising the content into logical, straightforward categories that would create clarity and speed up user journeys.
Visually, Thompson delivered an online aesthetic inspired by the cutting room floor. Smart UI design weaves together a hand-drawn typeface with a more angular and legible font to achieve the sense of a ‘work in progress’ - because the journey to a mentally healthy production is never complete. All the while maintaining optimum accessibility. The design approach carefully balanced engaging and distinctive design elements with professional tone and navigable content – the key to reaching a creative audience while delivering a site that even the busiest producer can access quickly.