Dr Hanna and Mig Burgess will analyse the results on 9 January at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
UK - The team behind the ground-breaking Blackout installation have released the results of the UK Backstage Entertainment Industry’s Evaluation on Mental Health Awareness.
This pioneering study was launched alongside the acclaimed 6-minute immersive experience at September’s PLASA Show, held at London Olympia. Funded by leading industry associations PLASA, the ALD, the ASD, the ABTT and the PSA, the academic analysis was conducted by Dr Paul Hanna, research director in clinical psychology at the University of Surrey. Hanna has worked closely with Blackout’s core creative team since they launched the installation in May 2019 at The Guildford School of Acting.

According to the survey, the prevalence of mental health issues among those working in the UK technical, backstage and entertainment industry is far higher than the national average. More than half (58.7%) of those surveyed admitted to suffering from a mental health problem, way above the UK national average prevalence rate of 25%. Women are more often affected, with 71.1% of females stating they currently have, or previously had, a mental health problem compared to 54.2% of males. Working in the industry is often a contributing factor, with 45.5% of those surveyed stating that they did not have a mental health issue before starting work in the industry.

Mig Burgess, who headed up the Blackout project, comments: “I am thrilled that as many as 1,300 of our colleagues have contributed to this important survey. We are so lucky to have Paul working with us on this evaluation and it’s been a life-long goal of mine to gain more insight into mental health issues within the backstage industry I love so much. The data collected results in a fascinating read, and I look forward to working with Paul and the amazing associations and industry bodies that helped to fund the study, to see if we can implement actions that can help to promote awareness and reduce stigma around mental health.”

Dr Paul Hanna comments: “This evaluation represents a very important first step in gaining a better understanding of mental health within the UK’s technical backstage entertainment industry. The industry itself has a specific set of demands on its employees, due to the nature of the work undertaken, and the nature of the entertainment industry more generally, so it was important to establish an overview of mental health prevalence, attitudes and support within the industry.”

He continues: “The industry is taking mental health very seriously, something represented by the commissioning of this report amongst many other initiatives, and whilst the report highlights many areas of improvement, the positive approach to mental health from leading industry bodies is particularly promising. I look forward to working with the industry over the coming years to help support a more positive approach to mental health for all involved in the industry”

Burgess and Hanna will delve into the details from the study during the Association of Sound Designers' Winter School, taking place this week at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. To register for their panel, taking place on Thursday 9 January, please visit: www.associationofsounddesigners.com/event-3646520
Meanwhile, the full report is available here.

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