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The Stress Special: The Results - Time for a Laugh - Disclosing Mental Health Histories

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 20 December 2011

The BBC Stress test was launched in June with BBC Lab UK, with the aim of answering one of the big questions in mental health - what is the cause of mental illness ? More than 32,000 Radio 4 listeners took part, making this one of the largest studies of its kind in the world. The early results are in and Peter Kinderman, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, tells Claudia Hammond what the findings reveal about the origins of mental health problems and the most effective coping strategies.

Mental Health - Time for a Laugh?
We all like a good laugh and there's plenty of evidence that it makes us feel better. But if somebody asked you to a night of comedy and sketches around mental health - if you were honest would your heart sink? Can mental illness ever be funny? Can we poke fun at the absurdities of serious conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or even - suicide? Or does a serious message automatically consign it to the unfunny bin? Claudia goes to see Cracking Up, a show that tackles the stigma around mental illness head on. She talks to the show's compere and writer, John Ryan, and the creator, health psychologist, Maya Twardzicki, about whether mental health can ever be funny.

Disclosing your mental health history when you apply for a job:
There's a lot of confusion about whether you should, or shouldn't reveal to a potential employer your history of mental illness. Employers too, aren't clear about what questions they can ask and when. Claudia asks the experts what the legal situation actually is. Ben Willmott, head of Public Policy for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Emma Mamo who oversees employment work for the mental health charity, MIND, answer listeners' questions on the subject.

Producer: Fiona Hill.


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