BBC to launch mental health programming throughout May

The broadcaster will transmit documentaries featuring the Duke of Cambridge and Tony Slattery in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week

Tony Slattery

The BBC is curating a range of mental health-related programming across TV, radio and digital, which will air throughout May.

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Brand new documentaries will be shown across BBC platforms in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May), which the UK may experience whilst still in lockdown.

These include What’s the Matter with Tony Slattery, which explores the Whose Line Is It Anyway star’s battle with bipolar disorder, and Tackling Mental Health with the Duke of Cambridge – a look at mental health in football presented by Prince William.

According to the broadcaster, one in four UK citizens experience a mental health issue in our lifetime. “The BBC has a long commitment to showing impactful and critically acclaimed programmes that resonate strongly with those experiencing some form of mental illness.”

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, added: “Mental health is important – and during this pandemic more important than ever. Many people may be struggling alone, they may be worried about maintaining their well-being or want to better equip themselves to help loved ones.

“That’s why bringing mental health issues out into the open is so important. Our programmes aim to do just that.”

BBC channels and platforms will also re-air a selection of documentaries from the last two years “to provide help to people who are struggling during these extraordinary circumstances”. Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, Alistair Campbell: Depression and Me, and Killed By My Debt are among the returning series.

The broadcaster’s radio stations will also transmit mental health programming, with Radio 4 looking at the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on mental and physical health in Inside Health: The Virus.

BBC Ten Pieces has developed Music Memories for people who are unable to see their loved ones in isolation, while BBC Wales The Sesh will focus on young mental health carers.

CBBC’s Newsround and BBC Scotland will focus on themes around kindness during Mental Health Awareness Week, while BBC Music and BBC Archive have worked with 100 organisations in “an unprecedented collaboration to harness the power of music”.

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Mental Health Awareness Week is from 18th until 24th of May. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.