Thirty years ago, David Harewood had a psychotic breakdown. At 23 years old he was sectioned and taken into hospital.
On World Mental Health Awareness Day 2017, David took to Twitter and spoke publicly about his experiences for the first time. He was overwhelmed by the response, as over 35,000 people shared their own mental health battles and their support for those who have experienced psychosis.
In the UK, psychosis will affect roughly one in 100 people. This deeply personal and immersive film sees David piece together what happened to him. He has made the film to help himself and other people explore and understand the misconceptions around psychosis.
David retraces his steps to key locations from his breakdown and meets the people who witnessed his spiralling decline, many of whom he hasn’t spoken to about his experiences. He talks to his mum, his casting agent, and his best friends at the time, who found him with a corkscrew-punched copy of Shakespeare by his side and took him to the hospital where he was ultimately sectioned. Looking back, he realises that he has carried this mental trauma for too long.
David also meets people who are going through their own mental health crises, and spends time with the combined emergency NHS mental health and police teams in his hometown of Birmingham as they respond to 999 calls to treat people in distress.
He meets people who are living with psychosis and spends time with two inspirational young people from an Early Intervention drop-in group in Solihull. The support group, run by consultant psychiatrist Dr Erin Turner, offers encouragement to its members so they can talk about their own psychosis, their treatment – and crucially their ongoing recoveries.
David Harewood: Psychosis and Me – Thursday at 9.00pm on BBC2.