Calltime: Mental Health initiative helps motion picture workers find support

B.C.’s motion picture industry unions are making it easier for workers and their families to access anonymous support for mental health and addictions. 

Photo of bright lights as operator works with video camera at an awards ceremony

Photo credit: iStock.com/KCHANDE

In any given year, one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Compassion, understanding, and support can make a big difference for these individuals. But people often hesitate to ask for help because there is still much stigma around these struggles. That’s why B.C.’s motion picture unions want workers to know there is help available — and it’s anonymous.

Calltime: Mental Health is an initiative developed by the industry’s unions to support motion picture workers who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues. It aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness about services that are available to the industry. The Calltime website offers resources, 24-hour emergency helplines, and information on employee assistance programs.

“The stigma around reporting anything to do with mental health or addiction is still very high. This is a really good tool to start people talking,” says Don Parman, manager of Performing Arts Programs and Services at Actsafe, the health and safety association for the arts and entertainment industries.

“The initiative was created and built by people who have been through it and dealt with it. Now they want to protect their friends and coworkers.”

Run by people who understand the industry

Calltime’s hotlines and resources are unique because the people behind them understand the demands of the motion picture industry, such as the long hours and high stress. (See my post Managing fatigue when you work long hours that focuses on this industry.)

Don recognizes that these issues affect other industries too, and is optimistic that the culture around mental health in the workplace is changing.

“As each industry starts to address mental health, specifically for their own people and their own workplaces, it will get better.”

Looking for resources? Calltime’s website has a great list of publicly available resources on mental health and addiction. Also see these resources from the CMHA.

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