BBFC adopts calls from its Youth Panel to improve information about issues tackled in feature films
Last updated 2 hours ago
Films will feature more prominent guidance about what mental health issues are tackled in them, as the BBFC responds to demands from young cinema-goers.
The British Board of Film Classification regularly consults on the changing demands of movie lovers, and says young people are asking for clearer information about what issues are featured.
With more movies looking in-depth at people experiencing things like stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, Chief Executive David Austin says it’s right to offer improved guidance to young people.
Mental Health at the cinema
Research from the BBFC, alongside Yougov has uncovered a strong link between perceptions of mental health issues, and the exposure to these issues on the big and small screen.
- 68% of teenagers said seeing positive portrayals of mental health conditions helps break down stigma.
- 48% said seeing issues depicted on screen helped them understand them more.
- 75% said positive portrayals would be a springboard to them getting help.
- 41% had started a conversation with a friend after seeing an issue depicted on screen.
A new BBFC resource for GCSE students is being launched to offer better guidance for young people to help them decide what movies are right for them.
“Teens want to make informed decisions”
Speaking to our #MentalHealthMonday Podcast, BBFC Chief Exec David Austin said: “One of the things we found from our research was that content warnings are really important. Age ratings, along with the age ratings information we provide are really important, particularly around mental health.
“Teens want to make informed decisions, and we’re there to help them.”
The BBFC provides 70 word guides to films appearing at the cinema and being released on DVD. It’s app and website provides more information about what a film contains.
But David told us the way people consume movies is changing, and so is the way the guidance is issued.
“More and more people are watching content online, so we’re working with platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Apple to get our content warning and age ratings there too.”
The BBFC offered guidance to Netflix on the way it presented “To The Bone” starring Lily Collins. Users saw both an age rating (15) and a warning the movie contained themes around anorexia.
18 year old Megan sits on the BBFC Youth Panel. She said: “Mental health, thankfully, is becoming a much more open conversation, which is why it is so welcome that the BBFC is making such a conscious effort to aid people to not only seek out content that will hopefully de-stigmatise mental health, but also to protect those from themes that may cause harm.
“I truly hope that by casting a light on these issues, through accurate ratings and information provided by the BBFC, such as their new resources for schools, more people will be able to open up about their experiences.
Listen to David Austin and Megan join Mick Coyle on this week’s #MentalHealthMonday Podcast, which also recommends films with mental health themes, and signposts to mental health services if you need them
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