Mind Media Awards - A review of the speech radio shortlist
Posted Monday 7 November 2011
This guest blog is part of our series on the Mind Media Awards to be held on 28 November 2011.
I’m running a campaign called Start Talking Mental with Battlefront. My campaign aims to encourage young people to talk about mental health and break down stigma. I’m also trying to appoint a National Youth Ambassador for Mental Health.
Radio Wanno: An Interview with Stephen Fry
This programme includes discussion about mental health in prisons. Both Fry and the presenter talk openly about their own bipolar disorder, which is great and exactly what my campaign is promoting.
Fry talks about a documentary he made called The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive. He says that the response he received from viewers was huge as nothing like it had ever been made before.
Through my campaign I‘ve highlighted celebrities who talk about their mental health. In the interview, Fry says it’s dangerous when someone famous attaches themselves to an illness. Young people may admire them and want to have it too.
I think that this just demonstrates how important it is to talk about mental health problems. If we don’t talk about it then people won’t understand what it really means. Even Fry’s parents didn’t feel able to talk about it when he was diagnosed at 16.
Fry says that stigma is society’s problem, not the individual’s. The fact that society can’t deal with it makes mental health problems much harder to cope with.
BBC Radio 4: Jon Ronson - Voices in the Head
For this programme, writer and documentary maker Jon Ronson interviewed a number of people who hear voices. Despite not feeling negatively about the voices, some of the people experiencing them were treated as if they were dangerous and locked away.
To me personally, the programme suggests that people hearing voices should be given more time to talk through their experiences with doctors and specialists before any drastic action is taken.
It sounds as though the individuals feel they are not being listened to and their needs are not being met. It just shows that listening is just as important as talking.
BBC Radio 4: Mentally Ill and Refusing Surgery
This programme tells the story of a man called John who has paranoid schizophrenia. John discovers he has a life-threatening cancerous tumour in his throat and is told he requires a serious operation to remove his voice box. He agrees to the surgery but quickly changes his mind.
The surgeon has to decide whether John is refusing the life-changing operation for rational reasons, or whether his mental health problems are clouding his judgement.
The programme offers a very interesting debate on ethical issues of informed consent and whether mental health should affect a person’s right to make decisions.
Programmes like this give insight into real-life problems and encourage an honest debate about the issues involved.
BBC Radio 1: Surgery with Aled
Being a young person, I know that the Radio 1 Surgery with Aled is listened to by lots of teenagers and the content really helps young people with their problems.
This episode focuses on the hard aspects of student life and a doctor is there to discuss mental health issues.
I think it’s great that out of all the problems students can face, the producers have chosen for the show to have a mental health angle.
This is a fantastic way to break down the stigma of mental health problems, particularly with the young audience listening.
It shows that it can be talked about openly without discrimination or judgement. Making more programmes like this would have a really positive impact on young people.
BBC Radio 5 Live: Robert Enke a life too short
In revisiting the story of Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, this programme emphasises the fact that anyone can have a mental health problem.
It talks about his depression and the events in his life which knocked his confidence, such as mistakes in important matches. Sadly this eventually led to him committing suicide.
Although mental health problems aren’t just something that well-known people experience, celebrity stories often seem to have more impact on the general public.
This might be because we don’t expect famous people to face these sorts of problems but mental health isn’t selective - it directly affects a quarter of the population. This is an issue I’ve explored in one of my campaign blog posts.
This show is really worth listening to as it gives you great insight into the life of a man with depression. It shares the honest thoughts and feelings behind the famous football player.
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