Comment: BBC Three programme 'Failed by the NHS'

Jonny Benjamin, Reporter & Researcher at Nine Lives Media, creator and presenter of tonight's 'Failed by the NHS' on BBC Three:

"Failed by the NHS is a programme investigating why young people with mental health problems are not getting the help and support they need from mental health services.

"While filming it, we uncovered that an average of four young people take their lives every day. It is absolutely tragic that this is the case, and that suicide is now the biggest killer of young men under the age of 34.

"It is a subject I have talked about throughout the documentary as I attempted suicide myself a number of times. I was going through a psychosis at the time and very unwell. Just before my 21st birthday I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression.

"When I finally came to terms with my diagnosis, I began to learn how to manage my condition. I am in a much better place today. I speak openly about my experience with mental illness and suicide through an online video blog in a bid to remove the stigma and help others who may also be suffering in the same way.

"The help Samaritans have given us within making the programme has been invaluable. When we set out to make it, our main priority was to make the documentary as sensitively but informatively as possible. The media team at Samaritans helped us to achieve this, and even provided support from their volunteers during a day of filming that was particularly sensitive. We are incredibly grateful to these volunteers for giving up their time. It was a privilege to meet them and to deal with the Samaritans throughout filming."

"I have spoken to Samaritans several times in the past when I have needed to talk to someone; either by phone or visiting one of their drop-in centres. To talk, and to have someone listen can make the world of difference and this is the real message I want to put out there. Nothing you can ever say is too shameful for a Samaritan to hear. They listen and support without judgement.

Nothing you can ever say is too shameful for a Samaritan to hear. They listen and support without judgement.


Guy Roberts, Senior Press Officer at Samaritans said:
 
"Samaritans’ Press Office has supported documentary makers looking at the services we provide, including our outreach work, as well as supporting those interested in related topics such as mental health.

"Our press officers can help to identify the most effective angles and provide case studies and expert interviewees, as well as ensuring that the most up-to-date background information is available, often liaising with the Samaritans policy team.

"The press office has also worked closely with producers of drama programmes with suicide-related storylines. Recently we have worked with popular programmes such as Hollyoaks and Eastenders.

"Working with both TV and radio, the most important aspect of our relationship with these programme makers is ensuring that the resulting documentaries follow our media guidelines, which have been developed over time with the press. The guidelines outlines suicide facts, media myths signs of suicide risk and recommended phrases to use when talking about suicide. Most importantly they help journalists to avoid describing or portraying suicide methods, which might encourage so-called “imitational” suicides."