It is well documented that low levels of mental health can be a major issue for students for a variety of reasons; being separated from family and friends, pressures of exams or assessments, rent and financial challenges, anxiety about employment- all can potentially lead to struggles with mental health.
Of course, anyone can suffer from Mental Health just like anyone can suffer from physical illness, but we tend to have many misapprehensions about what it is and what to do about it.
As part of Escape Studios’ response to this we welcomed professional Mental Health First Aid trainers into Escape Studios and put 40 of our staff as well as 40 VFX, Games and Animation industry professionals through either a one day MHFA Champion course or a 2 Day Mental Health First Aider course.
We have many ‘student facing’ staff here at Escape including our academic teams, student services, IT and studio assistants and it was great that each one of these departments sent multiple representatives.
Equally, the wider VFX, Games and Animation industry, (like many of the creative industries) are not immune to the stresses and rigours of the modern world and good mental health in the workplace is something Escape would like to promote. ScreenSkills funding allowed us to invite industry professionals to take this training and share with their companies too.
We think this training will be extremely valuable to our staff and students, as well as the wider industry, and is a huge step in the right direction in tackling the challenging effects of poor mental health.
If we can address some of the problems our young people face now we are surely helping to give them a better chance of succeeding in their chosen career and we hope they themselves will become champions and advocates of good mental health in their future workplaces too.
We’re grateful to the companies who attended, including: Union VFX The Third Floor One of Us ETC Jellyfish Pictures Created Academy Fifty Fifty Post Splash Damage Silverback Films and Keyframe Studios.
Text: written by Andrew Brassington, Head of Strategic Projects, Escape Studios