The Queen of chat tackles the stigma of Mental Health
When I heard about the ‘4 Goes Mad‘ season my immediate thought was one of trepidation. Not out of ignorance, but from the perspective of someone who knows what it’s like to suffer a mental health condition. With 1 in 4 people now suffering some form of mental health problem this programme was long overdue.
Although some may come to watch out of curiosity, others like myself will watch in the hope it’s portrayed well and sensitively, even though channel 4 seem determined to sensationalise the titles, thus undoing the point of the programme: To break down the stigma of mental health. Using “mad” in the title though really was a grinding point for me.
However if I were to focus solely on the show, I would say what a massive triumph for Ruby Wax, for not only embracing being “the poster girl for Mental Health” but also showing us that, yes its distressing, and the stigma is completely archaic, but that you can get better and fully function in society.
Ruby sets out to help three working professionals who secretly suffer with Mental Health conditions to ‘come out’ to their work colleagues in the hope of breaking down the stigma, and thus leading to more understanding and proving that a mental health problem does not mean you can’t function in society’s workplace.
Derek Muir an award winning design engineer wants to reveal he suffers with depression; Entrepreneur Charlotte Fantelli, suffers with anxiety and OCD but now is faced with an office situation which she feels her OCD makes her appear stand-offish to her colleagues; And finally chef Johnnie Mountain who also suffers with depression and admits to considering suicide at one point in his life.
All had a positive reactions to their confessions, but then I didn’t expect anything less on camera. The real gauge would be what happens after the camera stops rolling and people are no longer in the company of those that have “come out.” Johnny is the boss, so although a brave admission his staff were hardly likely to say anything negative. But I will defend to the death the braveness of anyone who is willing to put themselves on the line as these people have, as Mental Health really is still a big taboo in society and wrongly so.
The main part of me really wants this season to work in a positive way (regardless of the title) and I feel on the whole Ruby Wax portrayed a human sympathetic and informative view of the illnesses. So for that, Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions gets all my support and a big thumbs up from me!