My PhD research is funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. I am investigating the outcomes for TV participants who feature in mental health interventions within factual television programmes. This could be therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or other activities like exercise, singing or decluttering. Examples of these kinds of programmes include The Vertigo Road Trip (BBC1) and The Hoarder Next Door (Channel 4). My research integrates theoretical frameworks from psychology, media and cultural studies, to analyse in-depth interviews with ex-TV participants, producers and therapists. The aim is to better understand what makes participation successful, and what the challenges may be with a view to establishing good practice when working with participants with mental health issues. In addition, this research provides a unique lens to consider psychosocial factors that influence the success of the therapeutic outcomes for participants involved, with wider relevance to other mental health initiatives and clinical practice.
My interest in these issues stems from 12 years of experience working in UK factual TV production - filming skin graft operations, daredevils jumping out of balloons, and parenting interventions amongst other things.