In some much-needed viewing news for your almost-Friday, Louis Theroux has yet another new documentary on its way. It’s called Mothers on the Edge and focuses on postpartum mental health.
Theroux will step into the worlds of two psychiatric units specialising in postpartum conditions like depression, anxiety, and psychosis. He will also shadow mothers and their families and tell their stories from diagnosis to recovery and the journey between.
Speaking to Stylist about the forthcoming doco, Theroux said he had chosen to focus on postpartum mental health after a member of his team discussed it with him.
“Someone on my team bought postpartum psychosis to my attention, and if I’m entirely honest, I don’t think I knew much about it. I’d heard about postnatal depression before, but this was a new one for me.
“It affects about one in every 500 new mums, and symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as profoundly irrational and disordered thoughts. It seemed to me to be a story we could do justice to.”
According to the Royal Women’s Hospital, postpartum psychosis is described as a serious mental illness that “essentially means a loss of reality.” Symptoms also include confusion and disorientation – e.g. about the day and time, severe physical anxiety or agitation, insomnia, and delusions.
“We need to do more to let people know there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about mental illness,” Theroux continued.
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.
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.
Mothers on the Edge will premiere on BBC2 in May.
— Louis Theroux (@louistheroux) March 20, 2019
Image: Getty Images / Daniel Zuchnik