My Family, Mental Illness… and Me is a new podcast from Our Time which explores what it’s like to grow up in the shadow of mental illness. Each episode is an intimate, one-on-one conversation with someone in the public eye who has or had a parent with a mental illness, or mental health difficulties. The interviews are hosted by Dr Pamela Jenkins from the Mental Health Foundation, whose own mother had schizoaffective disorder.
Thomas Lynch co-founded the Edinburgh charity Dads Rock, which supports fathers by offering a range of services for dads and their families. In 2020, over 1000 people attended their parenting workshops from all across the UK. Thomas talks to Pamela about life with his dad Tam, a steel-fixer who suffered bouts of severe depression.
Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach, became ‘PE teacher to the nation’ with his daily workouts during the pandemic. In 2020, Joe was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to fitness and charity. Joe talks to Pamela about growing up with his mother’s OCD and his father’s heroin addiction, and how, despite the “chaos and destructive behaviours”, it was a loving home.
Kayleigh Llewellyn is the writer, creator and executive producer of BAFTA and RTS award-winning In My Skin on BBC Three. The second series is out this month. She tells Pamela how the drama is based upon Kayleigh’s own childhood, growing up with a mum with bipolar disorder and an abusive father.
Film director Iain Cunningham grew up knowing nothing about his mother Irene, who died when he was only three years old, after suffering postpartum psychosis. Iain’s acclaimed documentary Irene’s Ghost is about his search to discover the truth about his mother.
Dr Kim Foster
As a globally-respected expert on mental health nursing, Dr Kim Foster has spent decades researching the causes and impacts of mental illnesses. She tells Pamela how she spent much of her childhood in a care home, as a result of her mother’s severe mental illness.
Neil Coyle MP
Neil Coyle has served as the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark in central London since 2015. His mum has schizophrenia, and her illness has played a big role in shaping his life.
Camilla Strøm Henriksen
Norwegian film director and actor Camilla Strøm Henriksen grew up with a mother who had a mental illness, and channeled the experience into her film ‘Phoenix’. As an older sister, she says she felt a great deal of responsibility to her younger brother.
Comedian, author and podcaster Grace Campbell is the daughter of former Labour strategist Alastair Campbell, who suffers with depression, and is an Our Time charity patron. Grace recalls the impact her dad’s mental illness had on her childhood.
If you are affected by anything you hear in this podcast, there are people you can talk to for support. You can contact your GP, www.samaritans.org or www.childline.org.uk. If you are a young person, you could also talk to a teacher or another trusted adult.