Welcome to our Bedlam on C4 site
Over the past two years, television company The Garden Productions has been working on a documentary series about South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The four part series started on Thursday, 31 October 2013 at 9pm on C4.
Our first programme, Anxiety, followed patients through Bethlem Royal Hospital’s 18-bed Anxiety and Disorders Residential Unit. This national unit treats the most anxious people in the country - the top one per cent - and claims a success rate of three in four patients. Some are consumed by irrational fears they’ve caused a road accident in their sleep, harmed strangers or have intrusive thoughts.
The next programme was called Crisis; cameras were allowed in to Lambeth Hospital’s Triage ward for the first time. In a postcode with the highest rates of psychosis in Europe, this is the Accident and Emergency of mental health - where patients are at their most unwell.
Our third programme, Psychosis, filmed a community mental health team. The lion’s share of our work takes place in a community setting, looking after more than 35,000 people with mental health issues.
The final programme, Breakdown, focused on older adults. The number of older people with mental health problems is estimated to increase by a third over the next 15 years to 4.3 million. Bereavement, stress and loneliness can contribute and some end up on our Older Adults Ward at Maudsley Hospital.
The series has attracted millions of viewers and we have been overwhelmed by the support, feedback and comments from patients, staff and members of the public.
If you missed any of the episodes you can catch up here.
We are working with Channel 4 to compile statistics on the series and doing our own social media evaluations. Once these are consolidated we will share the information with you.
The series was called ‘Bedlam’. The title was decided upon both by SLaM and Channel 4. It’s based on the fact that SLaM can trace its roots back to 1247 when the Priory of St Mary of Bethlehem was established in the City of London. The priory, which became a refuge for the sick and infirm, was known as ‘Bedlam’ and was the earliest form of what is now Bethlem Royal Hospital.
In deciding upon this title, we recognise that the history of treating mental illness hasn’t always been a proud or positive one. For too long, people with mental illness were simply removed from society, their family and friends and sent to long-stay hospitals (or asylums).
Things have improved, though our aim in working with Channel 4 was not to try and pretend that everything we do today is perfect. We wanted to help show the reality of providing mental health services in the twenty first century and what it is like to receive care and treatment. In doing so, we hope to try and help challenge the stigma and discrimination that still exists today and to promote better awareness and understanding of mental health issues.
Find out more information here on the decision behind the name.
The Communications and Media Department would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping make the series happen: staff, patients, family members and partner organisations.