Louis Theroux: Mothers On The Edge

Last year, filmmaker Louis Theroux spent time on the Mother and Baby Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital, filming a documentary about post-partum mental illness for BBC Two.

The documentary, called Louis Theroux: Mothers On The Edge, follows four mothers and their families in hospital and recovering back home. Louis Theroux explores what lies behind their recent crisis and discovers the immense challenge in caring for vulnerable people.

The Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital is part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The 13-bed unit was set up for women who develop or have a relapse of serious mental illness during pregnancy or following the birth of their baby.


Mothers on the unit are admitted with their babies and supported by a range of professionals. Treatment is family-focused and can include a range of therapies including medication, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), couple or family therapy, occupational therapy and parenting skills.

Louis Theroux said: “Postpartum mental illness, like many aspects of mental health, is all too common and not acknowledged enough.

"We as a society do so much to celebrate new motherhood and to romanticise the relationship between new mothers and their babies, for understandable reasons. But the sad fact is, for many mums, their experience of having a baby is traumatic and they don’t experience Hallmark Card feelings of love.

"The women we featured in this film took a huge leap of faith in opening up and speaking to me.

"They bared a great deal of their souls and risked the judgement of less understanding elements of society. Their bravery and candour is awe-inspiring, and it was a privilege to be invited into their families during a most vulnerable period in their lives. I hope this film will go some way to helping normalise postpartum mental illness and stimulate a discussion on how we can best care for mothers at the time they need it the most.”

You can read more about the documentary in Stylist Magazine.

The documentary was broadcast on May 12 on BBC Two. You can watch it here.

For more information please call Olivia Lerche on 020 3228 2963.

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