About the programme

An observational documentary, which focuses on the work of our forensic mental health services, will air on Tuesday 29 November at 9pm on Channel 4.

The programme, Life on the Psych Ward, follows three patients at the Bethlem Royal Hospital as they face the prospect of discharge after decades under lock and key.

It’s the first time cameras have been allowed on the secure wards of the South London and Maudsley Forensic Services. It’s home to more than 100 patients, many of whom are considered too mentally disordered to be in prison.

Working here comes with a huge weight of responsibility. It can take years of treatment to reduce a patient's risk of violence but eventually medical teams must decide whether a patient is safe enough finally to re-join the outside world.

Tony has paranoid schizophrenia. His condition is aggravated by the use of illicit drugs and he has a history of going AWOL when on leave.

James is serving a life sentence. He has a personality disorder and a history of antisocial behaviour that he is hoping to leave behind. 

John is another lifer who was found guilty of attempted murder. Now, after more than twenty years of psychological therapy, he’s beginning to make unaccompanied trips outside the hospital.

This is a moving portrait of three men coming to terms with the trauma they have caused, taking their first steps outside the hospital and desperate for another chance.

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