I hope this season of thought provoking programmes across the BBC will contribute to an important national conversation, challenge discrimination and tackle the stigma that continues to surround mental health.Charlotte Moore, Director of Content
Date: 17.01.2017 Last updated: 26.01.2017 at 19.41
This spring, the BBC will host a season of films on mental health, across TV, Radio and online.
The season includes a two part programme on BBC One following a group of 10 runners affected by mental health issues as they prepare to run the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, to a Horizon Special on BBC Two looking at schizophrenia and advancements in the treatment of psychoses; a documentary on stress for BBC One and a documentary from mental health campaigner Jack Rooke for BBC Three.
Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, says: “One in four of us experience mental health problems in any given year and yet people with mental health issues still feel isolated and unable to talk about them. I hope this season of thought provoking programmes across the BBC will contribute to an important national conversation, challenge discrimination and tackle the stigma that continues to surround mental health.”
Alison Kirkham, Controller of Factual, says: “More than ever, people are realising the importance of looking after their mental as well as their physical health and this season of programmes explores what we can all do to look after ourselves and support others. From Nick Knowles discovering how sport or exercise can benefit our psychological well-being to Fiona Phillips finding out how best to control stress levels and BBC Three focussing specifically on mental health issues in men, I hope that this season of programmes will inspire us all to think differently about our mental health.”
Mind Over Marathon (w/t)
Mind Over Marathon will be broadcast on BBC One the week before and after the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
A group of 10 unlikely runners, living with or affected by mental health issues, will train for the ultimate test of mind over matter, to compete in one of the world's most famous endurance races: the London Marathon, in a new two part formatted documentary series. Running for Heads Together, a campaign led by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the two films will follow their preparations in their day to day lives.
Presenter Nick Knowles will set out to find the 10 inspiring marathon runners - a cast of contributors with a range of different mental health issues who will help him challenge misconceptions about mental health problems.
Mental and physical health is closely linked, and taking up sport or exercise can benefit our psychological wellbeing. The series will follow the group through the enormous challenge of getting physically and mentally ready for the race.
The group will be put through their paces at regular boot camp sessions, to give them targeted training through a variety of mentors and experiences, as well as an opportunity to increase peer to peer support.
Mind Over Marathon, a 2x60’, was commissioned by Donna Clark, Head of Commissioning, Factual Features and Formats, and will be made by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Robi Dutta and the Series Director is Peter Coventry.
The Truth About Stress
Stress is described by the World Health Organisation as the "health epidemic of the 21st century" and experts believe it can contribute to serious life threatening diseases such as diabetes, dementia and some types of cancer. In these super busy modern times millions of people describe themselves as stressed and many seem to wear it as a badge of honour. But what about if we took a different approach to stress? What if by truly understanding the meaning and power of stress we could actually use it to our advantage?
In The Truth About Stress, Fiona Phillips, no stranger to stress herself, and three stressed out volunteers, embark on a unique experiment. Using cutting edge chest mounted body monitoring equipment, this film puts stress to the test in order to examine it and understand it as never before. On this surprising and empowering scientific stress journey, Fiona will discover how best to control stress levels, how stress can actually help people perform better and will reveal how stress can actually help you lose weight.
The Truth About Stress, a 1x60 for BBC One, is made by Blink Films and is Executive Produced by Miranda Peters and Justine Kershaw. The Commissioning Editor is Diene Petterle.
Horizon: No Such Thing As Schizophrenia? (w/t)
For hundreds of years, psychiatry has treated voices and hallucinations as an enemy - labeling them as schizophrenia and seeing them as something to be quashed.
But is that the whole story? New scientific and psychological insights into how the brain works are leading to a radical rethink on what such experiences are - and how they should be treated.
BBC Horizon follows three people living with voices, hallucinations and paranoia, to explore what causes this kind of phenomena.
They examine the impact of social, genetic and environmental influences on conditions traditionally associated with schizophrenia - and look at how new ways of understanding the brain are leading to a dramatic change in treatments and approaches.
Above all, they try to uncover why it happened to them - and whether it could happen to you.
How to be Male and Happy (w/t)
How to be Male and Happy is a three part short-form documentary series, presented by 23 year old comedian Jack Rooke who found success through his cathartic, award winning stand up show Good Grief, which draws upon his experiences of losing his dad to cancer at the age of 15. Some years after, life dealt another devastating blow and his best friend Olly took his own life after battling depression.
The series is Jack’s one man mission to explore male identity, mental health and body image as he hangs out with men of different ages who have found their own ways of managing what life has thrown at them.
Jack’s playful knack for addressing sensitive subjects is deployed on friends, family and young men – all of whom have a compelling story to tell. From immersing himself in cold-water swimming to facing his inner demons as he bares all in a life drawing class and dancing outside Pentonville Prison dressed up as his drag alter ego Amber Dextrous. All this in a bid to prove he can be anyone, anywhere and of course, all in the pursuit of happiness.
How to be Male and Happy, a three part short documentary made by BBC Three and is Executive Produced by Matt Ralph and Nasfim Haque. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller, BBC Three.
Radio 1 will run a year-long campaign in 2017 focused on youth mental health. The campaign kicked off during Wednesday night’s Surgery featuring Years and Years singer, Olly Alexander. Further details will be announced this week.