So it’s farewell to The Jeremy Kyle Show. After 14 years of what one judge called “human bear-baiting”, ITV’s chief executive said yesterday it had been axed following the suspected suicide of guest Steven Dymond.
Not only was this the right decision, but it shows how far Britain has come in taking mental health seriously.
There is no way viewers could continue to watch a programme which featured obviously unwell people just so they could feel better about their own lives. Let’s face it, why else does anyone watch it?
While there may have been other factors at work – Kyle reportedly told friends ITV were looking for any excuse to get rid of his show – the fact remains it was a huge commercial decision which will hit them in the pocket.
ITV should be applauded for finally putting people before profits.
Coincidentally, this week is Mental Health Awareness week. ITV’s decision comes as Prince William along with Kate, Harry and Meghan, launched Shout, a text helpline to support people in crisis.
He also announced a campaign with the FA called Heads Up to get more men to talk about mental health.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in England and Wales.
In 2017, there were 5,821 UK suicides, 75% of which were men.
For many, the wait for help is too long.
Last month, talented journalist Pete Cashmore, who had struggled with mental health illness, took his own life. After his death I read a heartbreaking piece he’d written about his personal battles.
He revealed he’d only had two consultations with an NHS specialist in eight months and said he’d heard horror stories of some people waiting 18 months.
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