BBC Headroom

BBC Headroom’s agony aunt, Ruby Wax, launches three new online films exploring the support available for young people with mental health problems. Ruby pays a visit to three leading mental health services offering specialist counselling, advice and support to young people and those who are desperate and in danger of ending their lives.

In each film, Ruby explores how the service works, demystifying what goes on behind closed doors – in therapy rooms, call centres and drop-in centres – hoping to remove the fear of making that crucial initial contact and demonstrate the wealth of support available. These short films form part of Headroom, BBC Learning’s three-year mental health and wellbeing project, found at

Firstly, Ruby visits Young Minds, an organisation which offers help and support to children who are suffering from mental illness, and their carers. Here Ruby meets Sarah and Jacob, two teenagers who have problems including OCD and autism but have found empathy, sympathy and advice from the charity. They openly discuss why it’s important to find people in a similar situation to talk to and their daily battles against stigma.

Ruby then visits a Samaritans’ call centre. Here she meets one of the organisation’s 17,000 volunteers, Duncan. Duncan was once a suicidal 23-year-old who couldn’t cope with issues surrounding his own sexuality and his mother’s depression. He stumbled across the number for the Samaritans and the help they gave him got him through. Now he’s a volunteer hoping to offer the same support to others. As well as chatting to Duncan, Ruby also finds out what the Samaritan volunteers actually do and what it’s like to call in for advice. Nationally the Samaritans receive with over 2.7m calls every year from people who range from anxious and angry to suicidal.

In the final film, Ruby meets Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Co, an organisation that offers practical, emotional and educational support to some of our most vulnerable inner-city children. Camila talks honestly about the sort of support they offer to young people – from exercise and lifestyle choices to the options for medication. And Ruby meets Dawn who has found help and support from Camila and her team during her times of mental health crisis.

These three films mark the climax of Ruby Wax’s two year involvement in BBC Headroom, tackling issues from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia in her unique, insightful and honest manner. They will be live at from Wednesday 14 July.


  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1