BBC’s Waterloo Road works with mental health charity Mind
BBC School drama Waterloo Road has worked with mental health charity Mind to develop a storyline surrounding a character diagnosed with schizophrenia.
As part of Mind’s Time to Change campaign with Rethink Mental Illness, the organisation is working with a variety of TV shows to ensure that the storylines are realistically portrayed on screen and that the characters experiencing mental health problems are presented both sensitively and accurately.
Mind believes that featuring characters with mental health problems in TV programs can have an extremely positive impact. Wide scale exposure could help to reduce mental health stigma whilst at the same time providing individuals with the information they need to recognise symptoms of mental health conditions before seeking help.
Soaps and TV dramas have huge audiences and are a fantastic way of reaching individuals who wouldn’t find out about mental health problems and their symptoms in any other way. However, whilst television is certainly an important medium of communication when it comes to spreading awareness, stereotyping characters and portraying them in a one-dimensional unrealistic fashion could have a negative impact – which is why Mind were invited to comment on the script before it was approved.
Mind have put the Waterloo Road researchers and writers in touch with real life volunteers in order to provide a real emotional response to the storyline. This way, viewers are actually seeing characters who are drawing on real life personal experiences of an individual who once found themselves in a similar situation.
For information about schizophrenia please visit our fact-sheet.
View and comment on the original Mind article.