EastEnders is continuing to work with leading mental health charity Mind to accurately and sensitively depict Isaac’s diagnosis of schizophrenia on screen.
Mind have provided research, guidance and workshops to the writers, producers and actors to help give an insight into the emotional and social experience of living with schizophrenia, particularly looking at attitudes towards mental health in African Caribbean communities.
With the start of mental health awareness week, the storyline aims to encourage vital conversations about the realities of living with a mental health problem. In the coming weeks the audience will see Isaac struggling to manage his symptoms following his decision to stop taking his medication, and we’ll see him dealing with stigmatising views from friends and family.
Two episodes of Countryfile will have a particular focus on mental health in May. On 16 May, Sean Fletcher meets ‘tyre runner’ Ben Robertson. In 2018, Ben tried to take his own life, struggling with mental health issues arising from money and family problems. He survived and now uses his lifelong passion for the outdoors and exercise as part of his recovery, running with a 15kg tyre strapped to his back at sporting events to represent the weight he had to carry in silence when he felt he couldn’t speak about his crumbling mental health.
The following week, a Spring special of Countryfile’s Plant Britain initiative focuses on community gardens and wildflowers, helping not just wildlife and pollinators but also our own wellbeing.
BBC One’s The One Show will also feature interviews and films across the week.
On 19 May on BBC Two, The Psychedelic Drug Trial follows apioneering team of scientists and therapists at Imperial College London as for the first time ever, under controlled conditions, they test a psychedelic head to head against a standard antidepressant as a treatment for depression.
There will also be a chance to see other recent BBC programmes with a mental health focus including Horizon: Stopping Male Suicide, PTSD: The War in my Head and the film Manchester by the Sea. To coincide with the theme of nature, BBC Four is repeating Mindful Escapes and also The Pennine Way, presented by Paul Rose.
Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer, says: “The BBC has a long commitment to tackling mental health issues in our programmes but with the huge challenges that everyone has faced over the past year, more than ever, we have wanted to provide help and support. The launch of BBC Headroom and the huge impact of documentaries such as Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency demonstrate how important this content is and the real difference it can make. This May we’re providing even more programming to raise awareness and encourage people to look after their wellbeing as we emerge from lockdown.”