Horizon: Fergal Keane On PTSD

Fergal Keane, the BBC Foreign correspondent, is a trusted face, known for reporting with humanity and empathy from the world’s conflict zones. But off screen Fergal struggled to keep another story from overwhelming him. He was suffering from an acute form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For years he had been battling crippling anxiety and depression

PHOTO: Fergal Keane at Ukrainian army front line position at Peski in Donbas, Ukraine on 27 January, 2016

"I know that PTSD is a silent agony for so many people. It should not be that way. I’m making this film because I passionately believe that we need to be talking about what PTSD is like, where it comes from, and how we can deal with it"

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For years he had been battling crippling anxiety and depression.

In January of 2020, Fergal withdrew from conflict reporting and revealed his condition. The public response was hugely sympathetic. PTSD affects one in 20 people in the UK, and even more in the US.

Now, in this very personal film for Horizon on BBC Two, Fergal will explore his diagnosis and its impact. Where did the PTSD start and what caused it? Why does he suffer from it, when some other colleagues might appear - so far - to be unscathed by their experiences of war? Is it rooted in childhood? Is there a genetic component? These questions will motivate Fergal’s deep investigation and contemplation throughout the film as he looks into the latest scientific thinking behind PTSD and its treatment.

As Fergal continues to come to terms with his condition, the film follows him as he undergoes therapy and faces the challenges of living with PTSD.

Fergal Keane says: “I know that PTSD is a silent agony for so many people. It should not be that way. I’m making this film because I passionately believe that we need to be talking about what PTSD is like, where it comes from and how we can deal with it.”

Abigail Priddle, BBC Commissioning Editor says: “It’s easy to think that PTSD is something that only affects soldiers on the battlefield, instead it is a condition that touches many lives, from those living with the condition to those supporting them.

"Fergal’s decision to speak publicly about his experiences of PTSD and his trust in allowing us to explore and examine how the condition continues to impact his life will, I hope, open up a conversation around PTSD, encouraging greater knowledge, understanding and empathy.”

Horizon: Fergal Keane On PTSD (working title) was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History. It is being made by State of Grace Films where the producers are Rachel Hooper and Alice Doyard and the director is Mike Connolly. The BBC Commissioning Editors are Abigail Priddle and Justin Binding for BBC NI.

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The BBC has a long commitment to tackling mental health issues and bringing the conversation out into the open. BBC Headroom is a dedicated online resource that recognises the impact the pandemic is having on everyone’s mental health, and takes that commitment even further by helping audiences navigate a variety of issues at this difficult time.

Content includes inspiring stories from a rich documentary back-catalogue on BBC iPlayer; playlists, podcasts and music mixes to lift your mood, calm your nerves or soothe you to sleep from BBC Sounds; diet tips from BBC Food; motivational tips from BBC Sport; All In The Mind on Radio 4; ideas to help you get creative from BBC Arts and insights from BBC News.

Source BBC iPlayer

February 25, 2021 5:14am ET by BBC iPlayer  

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