It’s Amanda here from Beauty From Pain Blog. Pandora tweeted apologising for the lack of a This Week in Mentalists this weekend and that she would get to it on Monday, unless anyone wanted to help. So here I am… enjoy
It’s been an interesting week in the mental health world, with one of the most topical events being the showing of an episode of ’999 What’s Your Emergency’ which focused on mental health and was based in Blackpool. You can watch it for a limited amount of time on the Channel 4 website.
The programme sparked a lot of debate, particularly online. I have been meaning to write a Beauty From Pain Blog post about it since, but honestly I’ve been having difficulty making something constructive as I’ve simply been astounded by the amount of ignorance that I’ve seen by people who have shared their thoughts on the programme.
I may eventually construct my own blog post about it, but in the meantime I’d like to say a huge thanks to those who took the time to do so.
Inspector Brown at Mental Health Cop had a few observations.
The programme left The Real Supermum feeling angry.
I had been pre warned that the topic was mental health and a few have asked me what I thought of it.
What do I feel after watching it? Angry.
I am angry that one of our countries most vulnerable groups of people is being failed in such a way. I empathise with the emergency services who are trying their very best under finance cuts, lack of staff and of course being left to pick up the pieces of a broken society.
Where are the qualified mental health professions in times of need? How is a police officer or paramedic not trained to deal with a mental health patient supposed to do their job correctly? I admire the way they do respond, how they try to treat everyone the same, yet we are not the same, we do need specialised help at times.
Bourbon took the opportunity to remind us that shizophrenia does not equal having a split personality – a point that is all too easily forgotten.
Schizophrenia is not about having a split personality. I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone here this. It is a myth that schizophrenia is about being a split personality and it is so shameful for the TV to publish something so out of date with the truth.
I saw DID in this man as clear as day is day. He was very distressed as he fought with Frederick for control and switched from one to the other quite rapidly.
Just disheartens me that a program can be broadcasted to the whole of the UK with such negative and false information about those with mental health problems.
Life is a Chore felt that the show made a mockery of those with mental illness.
What the show did was make a mockery of those with mental illness, I am not mentally ill I just feel bad but those that are and who are able to ask for help then they should not be mocked, they should be applauded. Opening the gate to feelings that no one wants to admit is the hardest thing to do.
Saskia at Small Fish Big Point wrote a blog post about the 999 What’s Your Emergency programme before this week’s mental health edition. Saskia is from Blackpool and her blog post is entitled ‘Leave my town alone’.
For the past few humiliating weeks, Channel 4’s popular 999: What’s Your Emergency?, documentary has cast a dark and disturbing shadow over the town I will always call home.
Although undoubtedly entertaining, 999: What’s Your Emergency has transformed its original intention to document the work of the emergency services in the UK to instead portray a scandalous circus edited to invoke contention and, let’s face it, laughter.
Despite its decline as a tourist destination, Blackpool is still home to thousands of honest business owners, doctors, teachers, lawyers. Beyond Channel4′s footage are hard-working people who are ultimately being let down by the documentation of a group of people who represent a problem that is relevant to the whole of the United Kingdom.
While Saskia’s blog post was written before this week’s mental health edition, it still made very interesting reading for me and personally I think she makes a very good point.
I sat and watched the hundreds of tweets that were being made on twitter during and after the programme. There was a few particular responses which were made often and which frankly left me stunned.
One such type of response was viewers who watched the programme and instead of giving some real thought to mental health and what it entails, particularly in terms of the emergency services, they instead seemed to focus on the fact that the programme was based in Blackpool. And many then seemed to associate Blackpool with a bunch of crazy people.
To give some examples which I have read:
- Blackpool is a town of f*ck ups.
- Blackpool is a funny place… all nutters.
- Only in Blackpool does someone take 40 pills.
- Never going to Blackpool after watching 999 What’s Your Emergency. Completley full of retards.
And so on…
Now there is every chance that those behind these tweets were trying to be funny. But there are so many tweets of this nature that I am sure they can’t all be joking.
I find it sad to see such ignorance. What I would love to see is people realise that mental health problems are affected by people in every town. This is far from being specific to just Blackpool. Blackpool is far from being a town of f*ck ups. Just like every town there will be some well people and less well people. No, they are not all nutters in Blackpool. It is far from being true that ‘only in Blackpool does someone take 40 pills’. Blackpool is not completely full of retards. And if you intend on never going to Blackpool again due to what you have seen on 999 What’s Your Emergency, then you should probably avoid going anywhere ever again – as what you have seen happens everywhere. Literally.
Having said that I’m hit with the usual feeling of ‘those who really need to hear this are the people who are least likely to be reading this blog, or indeed anything mental health related’. And I am never quite sure how to tackle this.
On a final note… Mental Health Cop made the excellent point that
I was amazed that at no stage in the programme did the editors attempt to signpost people in crisis to support, to prevent things getting to the stages shown in the programme. Any number of organisations could have been mentioned.
And in our attempt to rectify that…
No matter how bad things get, and no matter how hard it is to see it sometimes – there is always someone available to listen, there is always someone who cares, and things do get easier with time.