Mental Health in Entertainment

Beneath the glamorous exterior of the entertainment sector is a darker reality: the struggles of many actors, crew members and musicians to navigate constant immersion in high-pressure, high-competition environments. We’ll discuss the impact of these environments on the mental health of those working in entertainment.

Television and Film

Although it’s certainly true that actors can experience tremendous amounts of stress, the difficulties of the industry extend to all crew members, whether it is a camera person, producer, writer, or another individual.

Those in front of the camera are there because of their creative talent and the skills they’ve worked hard to build, but uncertainty and anxiety abound for actors and actresses.

Their lives are often plagued with a significant lack of privacy, constant criticism, and seemingly never-ending comparisons to others, not to mention role rejections and long hours on set when they are working. The immersion in a complex or dark character can have serious effects on an actor’s mental health and psychological safety.

The teams of people who are behind the world’s adored actors and actresses are known to work far longer hours, having to arrive before and leave well after everyone else.

Along with the job security issues that film and television crews notoriously experience, the segregation between various departments and the bullying that often accompanies it can further exacerbate mental illness, which is commonly ongoing due to a lack of treatment.

Music

Musicians, as well as those who work to support them, also struggle with the demands of their success. Record labels require a steady stream of quality products for continuous promotion. Managers require musicians and their road crews to adhere to sometimes-punishing show and tour schedules.

Working in this industry means juggling the desire and joy of creating, remaining appealing and relevant to audiences, being able to dominate in their genre, and trying to live a somewhat normal life while spending long stretches of time away from loved ones.

Musicians and those they work with often place self-care on the back burner, enduring long work days, late nights with little sleep, and insufficient hydration. All of these contribute to a decline in mental health.

The Problem

Young actor in a theater.

Individuals in both industries have identified the significant lack of mental health resources as the reason for the continuing and worsening mental health problems in entertainment. As well,  actors, musicians, and the people they work with feel notoriously alone in their careers, and these working environments are commonly very toxic.

These and other factors combine to create a perfect storm of stress, which can have a cascading effect on mental as well as physical health. Many have stated that mental health challenges have become a serious crisis in the entertainment industry, with exceedingly high numbers of employees experiencing significant mental health issues.

The Toll

One survey of over 9,000 film and TV professionals in the U.K. revealed that over half had contemplated suicide, and a shocking 1 in 10 had attempted suicide. Both of these numbers were far higher than their national averages. In terms of likelihood to self-harm, the survey revealed that the risk was three times more than the national average.1

NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, revealed that in 2019, 19.1%, or just over 47 million adults in the U.S., were experiencing mental health problems.2  In the entertainment industry, it’s said that this number can be tripled.

The chronic stress experienced by musicians, band members, producers, road crews, instrument technicians, and others in the industry has historically led to the development of ongoing mental health conditions. Anxiety, depression, and rejection-sensitive dysphoria are just a few of the issues that those working in the music industry typically experience.

The mental health issues that plague those working in the entertainment sector often go without professional treatment. Instead, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is a common choice that unfortunately is only effective for a short while.

It’s common to hear that an actor, musician, location manager, or another crew member has entered rehab, canceled dates due to exhaustion, or succumbed to the pressure of the industry via suicide.

Solutions for Entertainment Industry Professionals

Director Ava Duvernay, recognizing the need for mental health support while filming 2019’s “When They See Us,” hired set counselors to help actors process their scenes.

Mental Health First Aid training involves learning about, understanding, and identifying the symptoms and signs that accompany developing mental health issues. Participants learn how to respond to these signs, and these programs have been launched by Comedy Central and other entertainment companies.

Other solutions to support mental health exist in the digital space and serve as resources that can be accessed as they are needed. One example is Headspace, a meditation app, which is able to be used free-of-charge by employees of entertainment companies like CBS.

Many programs have been created In response to the severe mental health crisis in the entertainment industry, one example being the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative, which supports entertainment sector employees.

Some entertainment companies offer classes in yoga and meditation, while others have designated mindfulness days and scheduled events like journaling workshops.

California’s Mental Health Treatment Center

group photo of divine house staff standing outside

When the negative effects of mental health in the entertainment industry begin to affect one’s life, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you or someone you love is an entertainment industry worker with mental health struggles, Divine House, located in La Mesa, provides inpatient rehab and holistic, evidence-based treatment.

Our team of mental health professionals understands the stigmas and complexities surrounding mental illness, and they are highly skilled at delivering these effective treatments.

Divine House’s luxury mental health facilities allow you to receive private care while staying in warm and pleasing accommodations, enjoying nourishing chef-prepared meals and more.

The right mental health treatment lessens the impact of symptoms on your life; visit Divine House or call us today at (619) 304-6467 to learn how we can help.

Sources:

  1. https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/14/the-film-and-tv-industry-desperately-need-better-mental-health-support-12239858/
  2. https://www.nami.org/mhstats