June 24, 2013

BBC 3's Don't call me crazyWhen we were first approached by the BBC around 18 months ago about a mental health season they were planning we had mixed feelings about the idea.

On one hand we really welcome anything that gets people talking about mental health and breaking down the stigma around the subject is hugely welcomed but our reservations were around the actual channel that was known for controversial programming in order to attract a largely ‘youth’ audience.

From the beginning we were determined to work alongside the channel to ensure that whatever made it to screen was done as sensitively and accurately as possible.

BBC 3 were really good at keeping us informed

Our initial fears were thankfully short lived BBC 3 were really good at keeping us informed through meetings, emails and phone calls. In the early stages we did a lot of brainstorming with the channel over the issues that we thought were important and relevant for a younger audience.

They let us know when they had general themes for the series, what shows they were looking at including (and responded by dropping one particular show that we had real concerns about) and then when it got nearer to the season the marketing, dates and detailed breakdowns of each show.

We also worked alongside a number of the production companies

As well as working with the channel we also worked alongside a number of the production companies. At the beginning of the commissioning process we were inundated with requests from production companies who were sure they had the winning formula or even those who wanted to pick our brains for ideas to take to the channel. As soon as there were some firm commissions we were able to help with research, information and recruitment of contributors to the shows.

We also provided all the production companies with a copy of our media guidelines asking them to pay particular attention to the advice about working with contributors. They seemed to take this to heart and we have had some glowing reports back from our media volunteers who made the final edit. We heard from one contributor who had seen the final footage that he was in after a researcher made the round trip from Manchester to Bristol just to show him. Another told us that the production team had been in touch on a regular basis to check how she was feeling about the process she commented that:

The experience has been really good and the production team have been so friendly and helpful. Normally it would be very hard to open up to strangers about these issues but Sarah (the woman who was in contact with me) was so kind and I really felt like she understood. She also kept me updated regularly on what was needed and how the filming was going.

'Don’t Call Me Crazy’ is hard hitting and difficult to watch in places

It was with excitement but some trepidation that we attended a launch event for the season last week with a screening of the first show ‘Don’t Call Me Crazy’ as well as highlights from all the other shows. Thankfully we came away really pleased with the season overall. ‘Don’t Call Me Crazy’ is hard hitting and difficult to watch in places but it also features some incredible young people and has some messages of recovery and hope as well as humour amongst the darkness.

The highlight for me was some as great footage of the young people talking about the discrimination they face because of their mental health problems. The rest of the shows offer a good selection of people, subjects and treatments and we really hope that it will achieve what it has set out to do, to get young people talking about mental health and to challenge stigma in this age group.

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Jenni Regan manages the Time to Change Media Advisory Service. Follow Jenni on Twitter and Google+.

We'll be covering the BBC's new mental health season mental so look out for updates #itsamadworld #dontcallmecrazy

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.


Time To Change

The campaign to end discrimination in Mental Health is really gathering momentum and I am proud to be a Time To Change champion. I believe this campaign will change lives, as well as attitudes. At time of writing we are approaching 40,000 pledges. I am going to send a Time to Change ECard to all my contacts.

I still have big issues with

I still have big issues with whether people are fully able to consent and understand the implications of appearing on the programme. Will they regret it or help them? From an angle of tackling stigma its great. I speak as one who has provided mental health services and bern an in patient in a psych ward.

Don't Call Me Crazy

Just watched the first episode of Don't Call Me Crazy which I recorded last night. I am a young adult who has suffered with depression and anxiety disorder for two years. This programme made me feel like I am not alone, not abnormal and that I can continue to get better. A huge thank you to everyone involved in contributing to the mental health season on BBC Three and I'm looking forward to watching more.

Don't Call Me Crazy review

This kind of programming is akin to the groups of middle class people who would visit asylums for entertainment value in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I would say that rather than breaking down stereotypes - it is reinforcing them. Sarah Tonin sent a review of the second episode for me to publish on DAO at www.disabilityartsonline.org/dont-call-me-crazy-bbc-three She writes from the viewpoint of a survivor who in the past has been co-opted into taking part in a tv documentary - something which she regrets.

Don't call me crazy

This programme was excellent it helps young people especially!! it makes many people understand that mental health is not Something to be ashamed of!! I was once a self harner and felt alone and ashamed until I got help and that is a lot of the problems nowadays people do not realise that there is non judgemental help available and this shows both sides to how the workers and patients work together to lead a normal life as possible!!! I absolutely loved this programme and looking forward to the rest of mental health season. It puts the issue of stigmas and stereotypes straight out into the public!! Good Job!!

Don't call me crazy

As someone who suffers with Bipolar I with an enforced stay at the priory, as well as suffering with severe depression and anxiety as a teenager I absolutely loved it! There was so much that rang true, especially as I've been a bit off the rails recently. I've alienated most of my friends and family and gave them copies if this to try and give them a little insight as what it's like for me. It's also made me a little more confident telling those around me about my condition. Thank you BBC3!!!

Things are much worse than BBC is reporting

This BBC series gave far too rosy a picture. There is a desperate lack of resources for mental health and severely ill people are being left for years without treatment or proper care. Don’t Call Me Crazy said 500,000 young people suffer from mental illness & 12,000 a year are treated in specialist units. They did not point out that this is much less than 1%. Some people may not need treatment in a specialist unit, but far more than 1% do. All the people in Diaries of a Broken Mind seemed to be living in nice places & were either coping by themselves or being looked after. I know several people who once had professional jobs but now are unable to care for themselves & went years without treatment or care. Their heating hadn’t worked for years & they had things like: broken windows, vermin in their homes, lights not working & plaster hanging off the walls. They were unable to feed themselves properly or do very simple things like answering the phone, opening letters or plugging in their TV. One person told me that when TV went digital in her area she cancelled her TV license because she couldn’t cope with having more than 5 TV channels. You don’t go from having a professional job to being this ill overnight; it takes many years of neglect.

Please help!

Is there a link to watch the series at all? I can't find it anywhere :( I found this series really good and would love to re-watch it years later

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