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4 Goes Mad

Ruby Wax at the 4 Goes Mad launch event in London

Next week, starting on Monday at 10pm, Channel 4 launches a bold season challenging mental health stigma and discrimination. Somewhat questionably titled, 4 Goes Mad, the series will take a look at people's perceptions of mental illness, including programme's on OCD and Hoarding.

On Tuesday of this week, OCD-UK's, Ashley Fulwood attended the launch night in London. "I went along not sure what to expect, and I certainly got that feeling of being surrounded by many 'lovies' and 'darling' types of the TV executive world, but dotted amongst the audience where, to be frank, more genuine people like myself from various mental health advocacy groups and organisations, such as Mind and Time to Change."

"During the evening, we were shown trailers for three of the programme's, and despite the typical channel 4 outlandish title, the content I viewed looked fascinating and also incredibly moving. We also had a short performance by Ruby Wax (pictured), who very candidly talked about her Depression, who also made the very valid point, but in her imitable hilarious style, 'It doesn't matter if you're well known or if you live in a mud hut, depression loves everybody'. Ruby then joined a panel of guests for a general debate on Mental Health issues, chaired by Jon Snow the panel also included Sue Baker, the director of Time to Change, Dr Paul Litchfield, Chief Medical Officer from BT, and Kevan Jones, the MP who recently ‘came out’ about his past mental health issues."

"I would urge everyone to put the titles of the season and shows to one side for a moment and lets reserve judgemental until we have seen the content, which from what I can tell, will be incredibly moving."

Channel 4 have also backed up their efforts in addition to the 4 Goes Mad season by becoming the first broadcaster to sign the Time to Change pledge to tackle stigma - as an employer and as a TV channel.

The season starts on Monday at 10pm with Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions. Building on the success of her mental health stage show, during which the audience is encouraged to speak openly about their own experiences, in this documentary Ruby campaigns to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental illness. She follows three successful businesspeople as they disclose their mental illness to their employers and, in some cases, their friends. This will also be shown on digital station, 4Seven (Sky 140, Freeview 47) on Wed 25th at 10pm, Thu 26th at 2:35am, Fri 27th at 11:35pm, Sun 29th at 2:55am. Click here to discuss this programme on our discussion forums.

Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCDThis is followed on Tuesday evening (10pm) by a programme that OCD-UK supported the production team in recruiting participants. Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD. Comedian Jon Richardson as previously talked about his obsessive nature and need to control the world around him, which was minutely detailed in his book, It's Not Me, It's You. After writing an article about his exacting nature affecting his ability to find a suitable girlfriend, he was inundated with letters from readers who identified with his compulsive need for immaculate cleanliness, precision and organisation. But Jon admits he knows very little about the condition, but, he's determined to find out exactly what OCD is, what it's like for people living with this disorder and whether he actually has the condition. The programme title is coincidently the theme for our OCD Awareness Week in October, aimed at showing that suffering with OCD, is very different to the frequently used term 'a bit OCD'. This will also be shown on digital station, 4Seven (Sky 140, Freeview 47) on Thu 26th at 10pm, Fri 27th at 2:05am, Sun 29th at 2am, Tue 31st at 3:05am.

Ashley also commented about this programme on our forums earlier in the week. "One criticism is that OCD programme don't always cover what we sometimes call Pure O, which is not quite accurate, but we did make a point to the researchers that they should also speak to someone with intrusive thought OCD. The clip of the programme I saw at the launch night did primarily focus on a lady with severe contamination, which was actually quite moving, and sad at the lengths her OCD was dictating her life.  But, it is important that we remember, regardless of the form of OCD being featured in productions, please let's not forget that person is still suffering desperately with OCD." Click here to discuss this programme on our discussion forums.

World's Maddest Job InterviewWednesday night's (10pm) programme is a unique experiment, called World's Maddest Job Interview it will explore if a panel of volunteers can disprove stereotypes about people who are living with mental health conditions. Some have had or are still managing significant mental health conditions, others have not had any at all, but all are putting their work skills under the microscope in order to challenge the discrimination that sees one in five workers claim they are eased out of their jobs after telling an employer about their mental health issue. The volunteers are trying to impress a panel of business people, who don't know which of the interviewees have been affected by mental health problems. Can the volunteers prove that those with mental health issues are as employable as those without. The eight volunteers in World's Maddest Job Interview also appear on some of Channel 4's most popular prime-time shows this week, Superscrimpers, Come Dine with Me, Countdown and Location, Location, Location. One of those featured is friend of OCD-UK, Ben Gander who previously spoke at the OCD-UK conference in Bournemouth and wrote the book OCD & Me. This will also be shown on digital station, 4Seven (Sky 140, Freeview 47) on Fri 27th at 10pm, and Tue 31st at 2:10am, Wed 1st Aug 2:10am. Click here to discuss this programme on our discussion forums.

Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder - Richard WallaceFinally, on Thursday (9pm) Channel 4 return to the fascinating story they featured last year, and the story of Richard Wallace, Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder. When he first appeared on TV last year (you can watch last year's programme online here), chronic hoarder Richard Wallace was living in squalor. His hoarding was so out of control we were shown that his life was in danger with mountains of papers and packaging filled his home from floor to ceiling and, worryingly, surrounded his gas cooker where he made his boiled eggs and toast. Richard was shunned by many of the residents of Westcott Village until landscape gardener Andy Honey offered to help. In fact, a couple of months ago Andy phoned Ashley and told us how he was still helping Richard. This programme picks up from there, and we see how they are getting on, and if the residents of Westcott have become more understanding of Richard's problem. This will also be shown on digital station, 4Seven (Sky 140, Freeview 47) on Thu 26th at 11:05pm, Fri 27th at 9pm, Sun 29th at 1am and 10pm. Click here to discuss this programme on our discussion forums.

Throughout the week the purpose of these programme's forming part of Channel 4's, 4 Goes Mad season is to get people talking more openly about mental illness, and most importantly to help change stigma. Do you think the channel 4 season helped, or hindered in its objectives. Let us know as the week goes on. Click here to discuss this 4 Goes Mad season on our discussion forums.

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