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With free, easy-to-follow guidance, The Film and TV Charity’s Whole Picture Toolkit is designed to help companies in our industry support and protect their staff’s wellbeing

Driven by my passion and love for my job, I had learned to accept and endure the taxing demands heaped on me by my production role. I missed birthdays, weddings and even funerals over the years.

But even before the pandemic, motherhood had left me wondering where my place was in the industry. Like so many other women, I began to think that my only option was to leave in search of something that offered more manageable working hours.

In 2019, I responded to a survey by The Film and TV Charity and finally had the opportunity to disclose how I was feeling – and to acknowledge how fragile my mental health was. I knew many of my industry friends were feeling the same.

I felt a powerful desire for our sector to change and support the mental health of our workforce. So in November 2020, I joined The Film and TV Charity as its lead for Mentally Healthy Productions as part of the Whole Picture Programme, the charity’s response to the same survey I had taken part in.

Combining my production background with my passion for mental health, my job would be to lead on the development of a toolkit that would be adopted by film and TV productions in the UK to protect and support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. Easy, right?

Creating something broad enough to cover productions of all sizes, across all genres, was anything but. Fortunately, co-design sits at the heart of everything the charity does, and we recognised the need to bring in industry representatives who could call on a wealth of lived experience – dubbed ‘the Changemakers’ – to help us create a product made by the industry, for the industry.

We wanted to align with best practice in the mental health field and, to navigate the challenges we faced, testing and learning became vitally important.


Within three months of starting the project to deliver The Whole Picture Toolkit, as it became known, we had secured three pilots, spanning genres and budgets. By January 2021, we were ‘in field’ and working with people either open to trialling things, or brilliant people who were already leading from the front and generous enough to help us learn from the best.

The results were amazing. Each production worker, trainee, head of department, head of production, exec or freelancer that engaged in this process contributed to the outline for the Toolkit. We quickly began to realise just how much of an impact even one small change can have.

We decided the Toolkit’s sections would cover periods before, during and after filming and contain practical, easy-to-follow guidance that would be supported by resources, templates and links to other work in the industry to help productions navigate better ways of working.

The Whole Picture Toolkit is available now for anyone to use. Co-developing it has been exciting and challenging, and driven by a deep-rooted desire for change. We have worked with some of the best people in our brilliant industry to create a free, evidence-based resource with easy-tofollow guidance and actions that place people’s mental health at the heart of their work.


I only wish I had been able to access something like this during my most stressful moments in production – but now The Whole Picture Toolkit can provide tangible help and support to everyone in the industry.

Thanks to everyone who worked with us to create it, but particular props to head of Bectu Philippa Childs, Leo Anna Thomas from 6ft From The Spotlight, Amy Gustin from BIFA, freelance director and founder of Create Anything Stewart Kysamire, and Yaw Basoah from Dark Pictures, to name just a few.

  • Valeria Bullo is The Film and TV Charity’s lead for Mentally Healthy Productions