Louis Theroux’s latest documentary tackles the very important issue of postnatal mental health. Here’s everything we know so far about Mothers On The Edge.
It might say more about us than the man himself, but few things in life fill us with as much joy as news of a brand-new Louis Theroux documentary. Sure, kids are great and all, but is there really anything better than settling down for the night to watch the documentary master at work? We’re (half) joking, of course, but over the years Louis’ compelling films, tackling all manner of subjects, have informed, educated and entertained. Now, he’s turning his attention to maternal mental health in a poignant new documentary about postnatal psychosis.
When is Louis Theroux’s new documentary on TV?
Good news! We won’t be waiting too long to tune in to Mothers On The Edge, as Louis’ new documentary is set to air on BBC Two in May 2019 (which, aptly, is Maternal Mental Health Month).
What is Mothers On The Edge about?
The new film shines a light on the common, yet often misdiagnosed or misreported subject of maternal mental health and, in particular, postnatal psychosis.
Returning to the UK – where one in five mums experience mental health problems before their child’s first birthday – Louis visits two specialist psychiatric units treating mothers experiencing serious mental illness.
Mothers On The Edge sees Louis meet women on the wards who have been diagnosed with mental health issues including depression, anxiety and postpartum psychosis.
Why is Louis Theroux making a documentary about postpartum psychosis?
In a statement about the new documentary, Louis explains: “Postpartum mental illness, like many aspects of mental health, is all too common and not acknowledged enough. We as a society do so much to celebrate new motherhood and to romanticise the relationship between new mothers and their babies, for understandable reasons. But the sad fact is, for many mums, their experience of having a baby is traumatic and they don’t experience Hallmark Card feelings of love.”
In Mothers On The Edge, Louis spends time with the patients and their families both in the ward and during their recovery at home.
He adds: “The women we featured in this film took a huge leap of faith in opening up and speaking to me. They bared a great deal of their souls and risked the judgement of less understanding elements of society. Their bravery and candour is awe-inspiring, and it was a privilege to be invited into their families during a most vulnerable period in their lives. I hope this film will go some way to helping normalise postpartum mental illness and stimulate a discussion on how we can best care for mothers at the time they need it the most.”
READ MORE: The facts about postnatal depression
What makes this documentary and the issue of maternal mental health so important?
While the subject of mental health is becoming far less taboo and discussions are opening up around postnatal depression, there’s still a stigma around the psychiatric issues after having a baby.
The whole experience of pregnancy and motherhood is often romanticised- and for good reason – however, for many women, it can be a time of extreme stress and prove damaging to a mother’s mental health.
Speaking about the new film, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, Clare Sillery, explains: “This thought-provoking documentary is sure to open up a conversation about one of the most challenging periods of any parent’s life and puts a spotlight on an issue that remains largely unspoken about in today’s society.”
What about postpartum psychosis, in particular?
Speaking about the new documentary in a recent interview, Louis explained why postpartum psychosis was a particularly important topic to explore.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of the condition, particularly men, and over the last few years there’s been a gradual sense that mental illness, in general, should not be a stigmatised condition,” Louis told Stylist.
He adds: “We need to do more to let people know there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about mental illness – it’s an illness like any other, even though it might not be as visible. And we can give families from the wider world a bit more of an understanding of what people with postpartum psychosis and postnatal illness go through.”
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