Mental Health Videos for Education

Training using educational video presents information in a memorable and engaging package. It portrays real life scenarios and promotes empathy. Video training allows you to hear the opinions and problems of mental health sufferers in their home environments. You can see the family relationships and how they interact with others around them.

Video is an excellent medium for providing mental health training as it gives staff an insight into the lives of people suffering from certain conditions. It allows you to see the effects of hoarding and how it can destroy people’s lives (see The Trouble with Mother below). You can see inside the home of a family whose child has ADHD (see Living with ADHD) and we can watch the mum with OCD struggle to get down the road without dirtying the wheels of her baby’s pram (Obsessions).

Mental Health Videos from the BBC

The Autism Puzzle

In the 1960s, autism was unheard of and children suffering from the condition were considered mentally handicapped and sometimes put into a home. This is a fascinating history of the disorder, from the first special schools to investigating the potential link with the MMR vaccine.

In this BBC programme we hear from Michael Baron, the Founding Chairman of the National Autistic Society, whose son is autistic, and other families with autistic children.

Autistic children struggle with change. They become easily anxious when taken out of their comfort zone. People with autism find it difficult to communicate because they cannot empathise.

In the 1960s autistic children were excluded from school, and there weren’t any special schools available. We see the development of the first autistic schools and follow some of the children who attended them and the teaching methods used.

The Autism Puzzle also looks at the causes of autism: research shows that it could be genetic, a problem in pregnancy or due to some other external problem. In this mental health training video we hear from some of the world’s autism experts and examine the current research into the condition.

Living with ADHD

In this programme, the Horizon team spent six months with two families affected by ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is an extremely misunderstood condition that some people claim does not even exist.

Children with ADHD are impulsive, fearless, forgetful and energetic. In this BBC programme we see that looking after a child suffering from ADHD can be exhausting: one of the families reached crisis point the year before the programme was filmed.

ADHD is a neurological condition caused by a chemical imbalance in the frontal lobes of the brain. This area controls the impulses, which explains why those with ADHD have so much trouble controlling their behaviour. Scientists believe that 3-5% of children suffer from the condition. These young people are often categorised as troublemakers and disobedient, when in fact their condition can be extremely distressing.

Living with ADHD is a moving and enlightening programme about the consequences of living with a family member suffering from this complex condition.

Wonderland: The Trouble with Mother

Wonderland: The Trouble with Mother
This episode of the Wonderland series explores the reality surrounding hoarding. Pauline is a former concert pianist who at 80 is now struggling to look after herself without help. Her five-bedroom house in south London is filled floor to ceiling with clutter and she can now only move freely in one room. Her son, Frederick, moves into the house to help tackle the problem and starts the painful process of sorting, tidying and throwing away.

For Pauline, this is ‘collecting’, not ‘hoarding’. She describes how she hates to see things being wasted, but admits that losing things that you need can be extremely frustrating. Frederick prepares himself for 2 weeks’ work in order to sift through the clutter, but it soon becomes apparent that a lifetime of junk cannot be disposed of in a few days.


This two-part BBC series looks into the science behind obsessions. Part-documentary, part reconstruction, we hear from scientists, the medical profession and sufferers themselves.

These mental health videos investigate the origin of our obsessions. What many people don’t realise is that obsessions can be passed from one person to another: either inherited, or by suggestive means.

Episodes in the Obsessions series:

Who's Normal Anyway?
Mental Health Videos: Who's Normal Anyway?
In this episode we look at case studies of people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. This programme deals with hoarding, irrational fear, hair pulling and obsessive washing. We look at people suffering from this debilitating disorder, and the strategies that they have put in place to cope.

In this programme we meet Bob, an obsessive hoarder who has not been able to invite friends and family into his home for over 30 years due to his hoarding habits. His home is crowded and uncomfortable – his television has been missing under a pile of his belongings for 5-6 years.

Liz is deeply ashamed of her hair pulling obsession. She has been pulling her hair since she was 12, and now has a large bald patch that she hides by putting her hair in a ponytail. Scientists believe that genes can play a role in Trichotillomania.

Stephanie has suffered from OCD for many years, but she now focuses her obsession on her baby son Jake. She is so anxious that leaving the house with her child is an ordeal.

Scientists investigate the possible causes of OCD: whether this comes from an infection, our genes or due to life experience.

Seeking Perfection

MentAL health videos: Perfection

We all have passions and interests, but for some people this turns into an obsession. In this episode of the Obsessions series we look at people who have crossed over the line from desire to obsession.

Rosemary was arrested for embezzling 4 million dollars from her employer. Rosemary needed the money to feed her obsession for shopping. Many of the things she bought she did not need or even make use of: she confesses to owning between 600 and 800 Barbie dolls and bought 30 cars which she never drove. She bought so much that she was forced to rent storage units to store all her purchases. Her husband had no idea that the money she was spending did not belong to her. Shopping controlled her and made her feel better. Up to 10% of the population suffer from a similar shopping obsession, according to her psychologist - it’s only the scope of her obsession that is different.

Scientists have found links between obsessive shopping and gambling. Theodore would spend up to 36 hours at a time gambling and in the past he has been forced to embezzle in order to fund his obsession. He claims that the casino means more to him than his own family, even if this does make him feel guilty.

In gamblers, entering a casino produces chemicals which stimulate the pleasure pathways, to such an extent that they develop uncontrollable urges. The person is unable to control themselves and their urges.

Edwin is a computer analyst, obsessed with high heels. He wears them to work, with his suit and at home to do the washing up. His high-heeled shoe obsession started at the age of 7 after seeing his mum’s shoes lined up in the wardrobe.

The quest for perfection is surprisingly common. Jennifer is obsessed with wanting to look perfect. It takes her 3 hours to get ready to leave the house in the morning. She suffers from body dysmorphia and thinks she looks like a freak.

Dennis wants to look like a cat and has undergone many surgical procedures in his quest. He has stripes painted on his face and whiskers implanted into the skin of his cheeks. His body is covered in tattoos that resemble a cat’s markings. It all started for him at the age of 23 when he started to tattoo his body, and the transformation began.

In this programme we meet the person who is helping Dennis to achieve his dream: a ‘body modification artist’ whose role it is to implant and alter his body to match his ideal.

BBC Active Video for Education offers licences for the use of BBC programmes in mental health training.