New Show, 'How "Mad" Are You?' Has Experts Guess Which People Have a Mental Illness
Coming to the Australian television network SBS on October 11, a new two-part series “How ‘Mad’ Are You?” explores mental illness in what the network describes as a “way never seen before.”
Ten Australians — five who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and five who have not — spend a week together undergoing specially designed psychological tests and challenges overseen by a clinical psychiatrist. The group will be watched by experts who, without meeting them in person, will try to make educated guesses about who has been diagnosed with a mental illness and who has not.
Apparently, the tests are designed to highlight the symptoms and character traits of common disorders like clinical depression, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anorexia.
The results are surprising and unexpected, as the fine line between being ‘well’ and “mentally ill” becomes blurry. Questions are raised about the meaning of diagnosis, the stereotypes, stigma and social implications that come with the label of a diagnosis, and the value of seeing the person behind the diagnosis.
In the trailer, the people featured can be seen doing mind puzzles, canoeing on the water and even performing in front of a crowd. The three “experts”– a professor, a psychiatric nurse and a clinical psychologist — watch the footage, discussing whether or not they think the person has a mental illness.
“It worries me that we’re stereotyping him,” one of the experts says, looking at a man with a long beard and slightly disheveled appearance.
Marshall Heald, SBS Director of Content and Online, says he hopes the show breaks down stigma and challenge assumptions about what it means to have a mental illness.
SANE Australia, a mental health non-profit, had an advisory role in the project. Jack Heath, SANE Australia CEO, said in a statement:
Documentaries like ‘How ‘Mad’ Are You?’ can help to open up important public discussion around mental illness stereotypes and stigma — conversations which are often ignored. Through sharing the experiences of people living with complex mental illness, we hope this series will increase awareness of symptoms, reduce stigma, encourage people to seek help for mental health concerns and reinforce hope amongst those living with the same diagnosis.
What do you think about the show’s premise? You can watch the trailer below:
Lead image via SBS