The nation’s favourite PE teacher Joe Wicks appeared on the small screen recently to show how the mental health of parents can affect their children.
In Joe Wicks: facing my childhood, an Open University co-production with the BBC, he opens up about the effect his own parents’ mental health issues, which were not talked about at home, had on his own wellbeing.
Joe became a national hero during the first lockdown with his hugely successful “PE With Joe” workouts. But in the wake of the pandemic, it’s not just the nation’s physical health that concerns him – it’s our mental health.
Mum’s OCD and anxiety, Dad’s heroin addiction
With the help of psychologists, charities, service users and mental health professionals, the programme, broadcast on 16 May on BBC One, highlights how children can fall through the net in terms of care.
Joe talks about his mum’s OCD, eating disorders and anxiety, as well as his dad’s heroin addiction and depression. He wants to understand how his family’s illnesses affected him when he was a child and how we can better support kids and families living in similar situations today.
A sometimes emotional Joe is filmed talking to various members of his family about how they felt at the time about their own problems and how they dealt with it.
The older brother who constantly looked out for him
Joe, who says he used to run five miles to school in his school blazer in preference to getting the bus, reveals that it was exercise that probably helped keep his spirits raised, and an older brother that was constantly looking out for him.
Will Murcott, Senior Lecturer in Nursing (mental health), the OU academic consultant who advised the programme makers, said it showed that children needed support if their parents had mental health issues and said even today many were not receiving this.
“The film shows there needs to be transparency within families. If you are an adult with mental-health issues, the services you would access would be about you and not your children. There needs to be more connection between supporting the whole family in these circumstances.”
This project was commissioned by Broadcast and Partnerships and is supported by the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies with particular relevance to the BA (Honours) Health and Social Care and BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing qualifications and K240 Mental health and community and K314 Approaches to mental health modules.
Commissioned by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast & Partnerships
- Academic Consultant: Will Murcott
- Media Fellow: Dr Mathijs Lucassen
- Broadcast Project Manager: Jo Weeks
- Supporting online content: Chris Belson
Supporting Online content:
Visit our NEW Broadcast & Partnerships site where you can find extensive resources and information on topics related to this programme, including an exclusive interview with Joe Wicks for The Open University.
Picture credit: Mindhouse