Three St Andrew's Hospital patients to feature in documentary to raise awareness of mental health

All three were sectioned under the Mental Health Act, but have waived their right to anonymity in a move described as ‘brave and generous’

By Carly Odell
Monday, 5th July 2021, 5:28 pm

Three Northampton hospital patients will feature in a documentary to raise awareness of mental health and to help quash the stigma associated with it.

‘I’m Not Mad, I’m Me’ follows Kayleigh, Charlie and Jo as they prepare to leave St Andrew’s Hospital.

All three were sectioned under the Mental Health Act and have been receiving care at the hospital for a number of years.

Filming took place as the patients were preparing to leave St Andrew's.

The trio agreed to waive their right to anonymity for the documentary, commissioned by the hospitla, because they wanted to educate people about complex mental health problems.

Kayleigh, who has been an inpatient for three years, said: “When I first arrived at St Andrews I didn’t really see a future, I was that depressed.

“I want people to understand that mental health can affect anyone. I want people to realise that just because you’ve got a mental illness, it doesn’t define you as a person, it’s just a part of who you are.”

Charlie said when he first arrived he was ‘destructive and violent’ and believed if he had not received treatment then he would either be ‘dead or in prison.’

The documentary will premiere on Thursday (July 8).

The documentary follows him inspecting a supported accommodation unit, the first step of his discharge from hospital.

Jo, who has complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia, anorexia and depression says she credits St Andrew’s Healthcare for helping her to get better.

She said: “These people have got me. They’ve got my best interests at heart. That was the moment that I realised I wanted to get better and recover.”

The 30-minute documentary will be premiered online on Thursday (July 8) at 7.30pm during a live YouTube screening.

A panel of experts, led by the charity’s new chair and former Minister for Mental Health, Paul Burstow, will take part in a question and answer session straight afterwards.

Mr Burstow said: “Jo, Charlie and Kayleigh’s stories are powerful and sharing their journey for the world to see is both a brave and generous thing to do.

“They came to the charity when they were deeply unwell and, as the documentary shows, the support and dedication of their care team has helped each one of them to begin a recovery so they can live a fulfilling and rewarding life back in the community.

“Anyone can join our online premiere and we’re hoping that Jo, Charlie and Kayleigh will inspire others, as well as adding to the charity’s efforts to reduce the stigma and shame which can come with being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.”

Katie Fisher, the charity’s CEO, added: “We discovered that the stigma and fear associated with mental health hospitals remain, with one in three people admitting they associate a psychiatric hospital with padded cells.

“The reality of it is, times have moved on and today, care is about helping people to live a full and rewarding life.

“This film, therefore, aims to break down the barriers that exist about life in a mental hospital. “Together, we want to raise awareness of complex mental health care and show that admission to hospital can be a positive part of recovery.”

Registration is required prior to the premiere screening and a broadcast link will be sent to each viewer just before the event.

Sign up here via EventBrite.