Thursday, 27 June 2013

Don't Call Me Crazy

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Don't Call Me Crazy - BBC Three Series

I am quite the fan of documentaries, this may make me somewhat of a geek and more often than not the ones I watch are usually about mental health and/or prison. Don't Call Me Crazy comes under that; a BBC Three three-part documentary focussing on the life of teenagers on a mental health inpatient ward and the challenges involved in this. My immediate thought when I saw the advert for the program was "How the heck did they get consent and go ahead for this?!"  and in some respects that hasn't really changed. I assume that the producers of the program have provided escalated support to both the service users and their families throughout the process but the question must be asked "Does this make it okay?". 

With regards to consent I had a little bit of a Google to see if I could find the answers to this (by no means an investigation) and the only results that it came up with other people questioning how it was obtained. Given that the service users on the ward are still considered children and under guardianship I assume their parents/guardians were involved in this process along with the children's own views on this, which undoubtedly gets you into the loop of capacity and consent. 

With the above in mind this brings us to the question "Is it worth it? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?" In some senses yes, it is worth it. The young children provided honest explanations about their mental health conditions, in the case of Emma she told viewers what I imagine every other in her situation would want to "OCD is more than cleaning". Common misconceptions like this must be addressed somehow, however is filming a teenage impatient ward for a year the way about it? I'm not sure, but Emma definitely got her point across, she is NOT an illness, she is Emma. There are definitely drawbacks to showing hospitalisation in this sense on television; it could be questioned as to whether it is exploitation of the youngsters, their periods of distress broadcast, which cannot be taken back. Surely being filmed will not help any distressing situations such as meal-time support in eating disorders which goes from being between a service user and staff member to being a somewhat public event; a possible added difficulty to their fight. 

Although this is only part one of a three part series I would like to have seen a more overall explanation of conditions and what these mean in terms of their expression in an individual rather than a somewhat unnecessary showing of 3 lots of restraint. I am undecided as to if I think the program is right or wrong, I will leave that decision for after the third instalment but I am certain that in the case of OCD the program will have cleared up some misconceptions of the disorder which is always a positive and in terms of Anorexia it has made a start misconceptions in this area too. 

Lastly I must commend the bravery of the young people and their families involved in the program for being brave to talk about mental health despite and in defiance of the associated stigma.

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