If anyone affected by the issues raised in tonight’s BBC Panorama risks being triggered or unsettled by the content, please don’t feel obliged to watch it.
Regardless of the final product and the too-little-too-late efforts of balance – in the face of criticism – on social media, the title of the feature and its marketing alone risk stigmatising and alienating already vulnerable people.
The greatest danger posed by those prescribed antidepressants for depression and worse is to themselves, and they are unlikely to wish suffering such as they have endured on their worst enemy.
If you are affected by the documentary, please don’t let it or any public or media reaction to it, encourage you to suddenly stop taking your medication. The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists instead (see below) asks any unsettled patients to make an appointment with their family doctor or mental health professional to discuss these concerns further.
And if these issues do pertain to you, and you happen to need a few words of encouragement, take a quiet moment to yourself to absorb these words by the author Matt Haig, who has been courageously candid in discussing his own battles:
“Always, [the illness] is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”
Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2015)