Mental health across society has worsened since the pandemic began. Stacey Dooley returns to Springfield Hospital, and over six months, including the second nationwide lockdown, works with the team to experience first hand how the pandemic is impacting patients in crisis. Stacey assists staff as they treat a wide range of mental health conditions, and takes part in the tough decisions necessary to keep patients safe.
Stacey meets Coral, who is brought into Springfield by the police one night after attempting to take her life. Coral tells Stacey and the team about her long-running battle with anxiety and depression which she attempts to self-medicate by drinking alcohol.
The pandemic has seen a rise in suicidal behaviour especially amongst young people. Stacey meets Oskar, a 20-year-old university student whose struggle with intense suicidal thoughts brings him into the hospital in crisis.
For those with pre-existing mental health conditions, waiting lists and delays to treatment caused by the pandemic are pushing them to breaking point. Suziee is diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, which causes extreme highs and lows to her moods. But with her therapy now cancelled, she is struggling to cope on her own and turns to the hospital for help.
Stacey also gets to know 21-year-old Ali, an inpatient at Springfield, which is home to the only inpatient unit of its kind in the country for those with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Since childhood, Ali’s OCD rituals have changed from repetitive tapping during stressful exams, and blinking to keep her parents safe in the car, to extreme bathroom routines. For severe OCD cases like Ali’s, this ward is her last chance at beating this devastating condition, and over the months Stacey sees a dramatic change in Ali’s obsessions.
Stacey Dooley: Back on the Psych Ward airs Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 at 21:00 on BBC Two.