Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Covid-19 crisis has created an unprecedented challenge and impacted people's wellbeing and mental health. We have created this page to provide our members with tools to support themselves and their colleagues.

Embedding wellbeing as a core value within working cultures enables the workforce to thrive personally and professionally, develop resilience and improve productivity. SOLT and UK Theatre aim to improve the mental health of the sector by collecting and analysing data, collaborating with others, sharing guidance and best practice, and initiating change. 

Resources followed by an asterisk have either been produced, commissioned or supported financially by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre.

 We are continually looking to improve this page. If you have ideas, links, articles or examples of good practice that we can include, please email: ukt@soltukt.co.uk

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'Personal wellbeing is a particularly important dimension which we define as how satisfied we are with our lives, our sense that what we do in life is worthwhile, our day to day emotional experiences (happiness and anxiety) and our wider mental wellbeing'

Definition from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing

The list below outlines some of our current initiatives to improve mental health and wellbeing in theatre.

  • 10 Principles: a set of principles to promote a shared responsibility for creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that is positive and supportive and where bullying, harassment and discrimination is not tolerated.
  • Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination resource library: a list of initiatives, resources, policies and procedures to help organisations tackle and challenge bullying, harassment and discrimination in our industry. 
  • Cultural Statement: a set of values formed from the collective voice of SOLT, UK Theatre and Stage One, which all our employees have a responsibility to uphold.
  • Remote Working Toolkit: resources for organisations to identify the potential for remote and mixed model working and practical tips for implementation. Implementing remote working (where appropriate) may benefit your employees' mental health and wellbeing.
  • Theatre Helpline (0800 915 4617): a free and confidential support line available 24/7 for anyone working in theatre and performing arts in the UK. Please see the tab below for more information. The Theatre Helpline offers advice and signposting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also email advice@theatrehelpline.org.
  • Theatresupport.info: a website that signposts to all the different theatrical charities that can provide support and advice to theatre workers. Includes a flow chart to point you to the most appropriate charity for your situation.
  • UK National Arts Wellbeing Collective (UKNAWC): SOLT and UK Theatre are strategic partners of UKNAWC, which aims to improve health and wellbeing in the arts, cultural and heritage employment sectors.
  • UK Theatre Awards: our annual awards include a Workforce Development category, which celebrates UK Theatre members who are working to improve organisational culture - this includes mental health and wellbeing support for staff.
  • Wellbeing committee: this steering group helps shape SOLT and UK Theatre's response to mental health and wellbeing issues within the theatre workforce. Please see the tab below for more information.
  • Wellbeing webinars: in May 2021 we ran a series of 10 mental health and wellbeing webinars for the industry. Some are tailored specifically to managers, and some are suitable for all. The recordings of these webinars are still available and free to view.

Helplines

  • Backup Helpline0800 464 7068, Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm/9pm. Urgent and non-urgent wellbeing support for those working in the live technical entertainment industry.
  • CALM Helpline: 0800 58 58 58, 7 days a week, 5pm-Midnight. Support, information and signposting, available to anyone.
  • MIND Infoline0300 123 3393, Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm. Information and signposting service, available to anyone.
  • Music Support Helpline0800 030 6789, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Listening service for anyone working in the UK music industry.
  • Samaritans: 116 123, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Listening and support for anyone struggling to cope.
  • Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Free text service.
  • Theatre Helpline*: 0800 915 4617, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Support and signposting for anyone working in the UK theatre industry. 

Counselling Services

  • Backup Helpline: this helpline offers a free phone service with a certified counsellor to provide initial support for people working in technical entertainment.
  • Inc Arts Minds: Inc Arts have partnered with Chanua Health to provide free group therapy led by qualified counsellors for people who have experienced racism. Available for anyone working in the arts, museums and libraries in the UK.
  • Industry Minds: offer a counselling service aimed at those in the arts who may be struggling but are unable to meet the usual pricey cost of therapy. Sessions are priced on a sliding-scale basis, and they fundraise to be able to cover the cost of sessions for artists who are facing financial hardship.
  • Wellbeing in Theatre: work with a range of counsellors across the UK who have specific experience of working in the arts. Available for both organisations and individuals.
  • A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of musicians: a four part guide that includes healthy practices for mental wellbeing and advice on getting additional support. Led by statistics on musicians, but the advice within is applicable to all.
  • ACAS guidance to help employees manage their mental health at work during coronavirus
  • Arts Minds: An information hub set up by BAPAM, Equity, Spotlight and The Stage. There are a range of topics covered, from your health to your finances, and each topic has a collection of links to sources for help and advice.
  • Better Health's Home Workout Videos: Free and easy ten minute workouts from the NHS's Better Health programme.
  • Burnout in the Digital Age: How to Avoid Workplace Stress: an article discussing what burnout is and how you can manage workplace stress in an era of multiple screens and constant communication.
  • Every Mind Matters: An NHS resource that provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
  • Mental Health Tips for Arts Workers: an article from Shape Arts.
  • NHS Fitness Studio: 24 exercise videos you can do at home
  • NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website: Visit the website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.
  • OK Rehab: specialises in local drug and alcohol rehab and addiction treatment, with a phone line to help you find clinics and assess your treatment options.
  • Public Health England's guidance: Advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • TALK: peer to peer group support sessions for those working in the entertainment industry.
  • The Hub's Balance Toolkit: advice on how to have a healthier mind and a healthier business, this toolkit includes bitesize video clips, quick reads, audio content, exercises and illustrations, all designed to help you balance your mind and your books
  • The Complete Guide to Managing Insomniaan in-depth guide about managing insomnia and healthy sleep
  • Theatresupport.Info*: leading theatrical charities have centralised information about how and where you can access support if you work in the theatre industry.
  • What you need to know about insomniaa complete guide to insomnia including an overview of the symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention 
Working from home
  • Developing Workplace Cultures: A blog post from the AMA on how workplaces can become better at meeting the wellbeing and mental health needs of employees.
  • Laura White Coaching: Laura works with institutions, providing consultancy and workshops, to improve both well-being and inclusion within their staff bodies.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing - ATG's Commitment and Practice*: a blog written for us by Ambassador Theatre Group about their work in this area.
  • MIND's Wellness Action Plan Guidance: Wellness Action Plans are easy, practical ways of helping you support your own and your team members' mental health at work.
  • MIND's Workplace Wellbeing Awards
  • MIND's Workplace Wellbeing Index: helps you ascertain where your organisation is doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace.
  • Online Working and Online Safeguarding guide: a general guide from Culture Hive on meeting online and how to make the space welcoming and safe, and online safeguarding if you are working with vulnerable participants or groups.
  • Playing Sane: this organisation is dedicated to improving mental health experiences for actors, their colleagues and carers. They have a collection of free, downloadable resources including printable posters and handouts.
  • Remote Working Toolkit*: a suite of resources for organisations to identify the potential for remote and mixed model working and practical tips for implementation. Commissioned by SOLT and UK Theatre and produced by Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA)
  • SAFERTheatre - Improving Workplace Health*: a blog written for us by Phill Brown, SOLT and UK Theatre's Head of Risk
  • Scottish Ballet's wellness work*: An article written by Sebastian Cater, our Head of UK Theatre and Workforce Development, on how Scottish Ballet are supporting wellness in the workplace.
  • Wellbeing in Theatre: mental health and wellbeing support for the arts industry. Organisations can access counsellors, wellbeing advice, workshops, training and drop-in mental health surgeries.
  • 6ft From the Spotlight: an organisation providing mental health support for crew in the theatre, film and TV industries.
  • Applause for Thought: facilitates free and low cost mental health support, talks, consultancy and mental health training for those working in the arts and entertainment industry.
  • Be Extraa centre for wellbeing in the arts. Be Extra is new, non-profit organisation founded by creatives for whom the arts are central to their lives and mental health.
  • British Association for Performing Arts Medicine: deliver expert health and wellbeing services for those working in the performing arts, and their website features a wide range of resources for performing arts professionals.
  • Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance: a national membership organisation representing everyone who believes that creativity and cultural engagement can transform our health and wellbeing. Their website features a library of resources on different topics including freelance support and guidance for working online. The Alliance is also the secretariat of the APPG for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
  • Haptivate: a training provider and consultancy who base their work on the latest research into productivity, resilience and wellbeing at work. 
  • Industry Minds: a mental health charity for the creative arts offering counselling, seminars and a podcast.
  • Laura White Coaching:  Laura works with institutions, providing consultancy and workshops, to improve both well-being and inclusion within their staff bodies.
  • MARCH Network: a national network formed to further research into mental health. UK Theatre is a founding member.
  • Playing Sane: short-term mental health support for actors, their colleagues, and carers.
  • Solas Mind: offer counselling, coaching, training and wellbeing support to the theatre, TV and film industries.
  • The Wellbeing Projecta consultancy providing advice, wellbeing and resilience assessments and resources across all industries and sectors.
  • UK National Arts Wellbeing Collective (UKNAWC): links like minded organisations and individuals around the UK to improve health and wellbeing in the Arts, Cultural and Heritage employment sectors. The website includes sections on how to lead others and look after your own mental health.
  • Wellbeing in Theatreprovides mental health and wellbeing support to theatre organisations and their employees (including freelancers) by offering access to trained Counsellors, wellbeing advice, workshops and drop-in mental health surgeries.
  • Creating an Organisation Resilience Checklist*: this free recorded webinar helps employers gain an understanding of a resilient working culture, and what your organisation needs to cultivate this.
  • Creating Your Racism Defence Strategy*: this free recorded webinar explores the impact of racism and strategies to support people who experience both direct and systemic racism.
  • Good, Bad and Ugly Stress*: a free recorded webinar exploring fun and achievable ways of tackling stress and unpicking what it actually is.
  • Leading a Resilient Team*: this free recorded webinar explores the neuroscience behind resilience, and helps managers develop practical strategies to help staff build strength and adaptability. 
  • Leading Healthy and Productive Teams*: a free recorded webinar to help managers understand the moral, legal and financial arguments for managing wellbeing, and the prevention of stress.
  • Looking after your body to look after your mind*: this free recorded webinar explores proven techniques that fit easily into everyday life, using your body to keep stress in place.
  • Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing: this online training course from IOSH provides practical advice and tools for managers to help create a healthy and productive place of work.
  • Managing Teams Through Rapid and Complex Change*: a free recorded webinar covering practical psychological models of change to help managers understand why individuals and teams respond the way they do and what to do about it.
  • Mental Health First AidApplause for ThoughtCreative FreedomDolly Mental Health and Solas Mind run MHFA courses for the creative and cultural sector.
  • Mindfulness for Theatre Professionals*: this free recorded webinar in an informal and experiential introduction to mindfulness, exploring the intersection between wellbeing, self-care and neuroscience.
  • Suicide First Aid: suicide prevention training that teaches and practices the skills and knowledge needed to identify someone who may be thinking about suicide and competently intervene to help create suicide-safety as a first-aid approach.
  • Staying Resilient in Uncertain Times*: this free recorded webinar covers tools, tips and techniques to build resilience.
  • Ways to Wellness*: a free recorded webinar covering proactive ways in which to redefine, understand and prioritise looking after your mental health and wellbeing.

The Creative Industries Workforce    

The following research explores the mental health and wellbeing of the creative industries workforce.

Arts Participation

The following research and reports explore the link between engagement with the arts and health and wellbeing.

"People who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60% more likely to report good health compared to those who had not" - Cultural Learning Alliance

General Mental Health and Wellbeing

The following research and reports cover general mental health and wellbeing in the UK population.

 

SOLT and UK Theatre have convened a wellbeing committee to help steer and develop our wellbeing work. This group includes senior figures from across the industry, including those from the UK Theatre & SOLT Board and other industry bodies.

  • Fiona Allan: UK Theatre President and CEO / AD Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Kris Bryce: UK Theatre Board and Executive Director, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Jon Gilchrist: UK Theatre Board and Executive Director, HOME
  • Brenna Hobson: UK Theatre Board and Executive Producer and Deputy Chief Executive, National Theatre Scotland
  • Nia Janis: SOLT Board and Director, Playful Productions
  • Stephanie Sirr: UK Theatre Vice-President and CEO Nottingham Playhouse
  • Michele Taylor: UK Theatre Board and Director for Change, Ramps on the Moon
  • Kate Varah: SOLT Board and Executive Director, Old Vic
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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.