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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Mental health trust helps actor David Harewood shine a light on psychosis in BBC documentary

Published: 14/05/2019

Birmingham born actor, David Harewood, spent time with staff and service users at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust as part of a BBC television documentary in which he explores his own personal experience of mental ill health.

David Harewood: Psychosis and Me’ will be broadcast on BBC Two at 9pm on Thursday 16 May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. It gives a very powerful insight into what happened to him in his early twenties as he worked to establish himself as an actor. He retraces his steps to key locations from his breakdown and meets the people who witnessed his spiralling decline, many of whom he hasn’t spoken to previously about his experiences.

David Harewood
David Harewood

Alongside David’s exploration of his own story, he also travels to his home town to meet people experiencing mental ill health now. As well as visiting BSMHFT’s urgent care services as they support people in mental health crisis, the actor, best known for his roles in Homeland and Sugergirl, talks to young people in the Early Intervention Service in Solihull who are living with psychosis today. David learns more about why he developed this condition, which will affect roughly one in a hundred people in the UK. Both David and the Trust were keen to increase awareness and understanding of this condition.

Erin Turner is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Solihull Early Intervention in Psychosis Team, which works with 16-35 year olds experiencing their first episode of untreated psychosis. Erin welcomed the opportunity to dispel the myths and negativity around this disorder: “David Harewood has shown tremendous courage by choosing to talk publicly about his experience of psychosis. In his documentary he meets some inspiring young people who have had similar experiences to him. Sharing stories seemed to help him make sense of his psychosis, which is a fundamental part of recovery.”

This documentary will shine a light on psychosis, a disorder that needs to be better understood. It will take another brick out of the wall of stigma that continues to surround psychosis.”

During his time with BSMHFT, David spoke to the Trust’s own magazine, and said: “I really cannot emphasise enough how talking about your own mental health, and seeking professional support early as soon as the first signs of difficulty arise, can help prevent mild symptoms of mental ill health leading to the onset of serious mental illness.”

On making the documentary, David said: “I never felt ashamed of my experience. But I want to reduce the stigma around psychosis and to tell people that success is absolutely no barrier to having a mental health condition.”