Stacey Dooley takes us inside a psychiatric hospital for new documentary On The Psych Ward

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Stacey Dooley’s new documentary promises to explore the stresses placed on mental health services.

Stacey Dooley is one of our favourite documentary makers. To date, we’ve seen her confront paedophiles in Tokyo, come face-to-face with members of Isis in Iraq and talk to underage sex slaves in Cambodia.

Her next project, however, sees her investigate a matter that’s a lot closer to home: the UK’s mental health services.

What is Stacey Dooley: On The Psych Ward about?

At least one in four people in the UK will engage in some sort of battle with their brain at least once during their lifetime. As such, more people than ever before are turning to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for support.

The NHS aims to see those who have been referred for psychiatric support for mild to moderate issues within a maximum of 18 weeks, in line with wait times for physical health issues. However, new research has revealed that 122,000 people are waiting more than eight weeks for mental health support – with some referrals taking up to 15 weeks.

In order to better understand the increasing pressure facing the UK’s mental health services, Dooley’s new documentary, On The Psych Ward, will see her spend three weeks at London’s Springfield Hospital – but she won’t be there as a passive observer.

Stacey Dooley’s On The Psych Ward will see the documentary-maker spend time with the patients themselves.
Stacey Dooley’s On The Psych Ward will see the documentary-maker spend time with NHS staff, as well as with the patients themselves.

Who did Stacey Dooley talk to while filming On The Psych Ward?

Whilst filming the documentary, Dooley worked alongside hospital staff as they made life-changing decisions about their patients. She spoke to a number of mental health experts, including consultant psychiatrist Dr Sean Whyte and ward manager Stefanie Looker, as they looked into the different treatments available.

Perhaps most important of all, though, is the fact that Dooley spent time with the patients themselves.

Throughout the course of the episode, we will see her sit down with a number of patients and speak to them one-on-one, as they discuss the events leading up to their arrival at Springfield Hospital, and whether or not they have found it difficult to access help on the NHS.

In doing so, Dooley hopes to break down some of the stigmas surrounding mental health issues for viewers watching at home.

What has Stacey Dooley said about On The Psych Ward?

“Sincerely grateful for the staff’s complete cooperation and patience…. and. of course, to the patients,” Dooley tweeted about her project, alongside a photograph of herself sat on a hospital bed.

“Hopefully we’ve got an enlightening episode.”

What have reactions to Stacey Dooley: On The Psych Ward been like?

While the documentary isn’t out until next week, On The Psych Ward is already garnering praise on social media.

“THANK YOU,” wrote one viewer, in a tweet which Dooley has since shared into her own feed. “I genuinely don’t think this side of mental health is spoken about as much as it really should be, and the pressures within the NHS and services like CAMHS are at an all-time high.”

Another added: “19 Feb cannot come quickly enough. This is a topic really close to my heart and I can’t wait to see my girl cover it.”

Stacey Dooley: On The Psych Ward will be available on BBC Three from 6am on Wednesday 19 February.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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