How Mad Are You? On Documentary Channel.

I saw the advert for this briefly the other night. I am sure I caught a glimpse of Richard Bentall there?

It looks very interesting. Here is an excerpt for the program from the Documentary Channels website

‘In 1973, Dr David Rosenhan conducted a seminal experiment (Being Sane in Insane Places) in the USA, during which sane patients faked symptoms to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals and were diagnosed as such; some of them were kept in hospital for up to 52 days. He proved that psychiatry, the science of the mind, couldn’t tell the difference between sanity and insanity. It was an experiment which transformed how mental illness was diagnosed.

Based on some of the ideas behind that experiment, How Mad Are You has brought together 10 volunteers for five days to work through a new series of tasks, conducted by psychologist Professor Peter Kinderman. Five of the volunteers are normal, and five have a history of psychiatric disorders.

The question is simple: which is which?

During the five days, the volunteers are not allowed to discuss their histories as they live and work through the challenges together, facing stressful situations and confronting their fears. The tests are designed to explore the character traits of mental illness and ask whether the symptoms might be within all of us. They include performing stand-up comedy to mucking out cows.

Who will cope best? Will the individuals who have been affected by mental illness reveal themselves? Or will the ‘normal’ but shy volunteer exhibit the oddest behaviour of all?

Mental Illness affects 450 million people worldwide. It preys on all ages, all sexes and all cultures. The path to health can be long and difficult, but for many simply being called ‘mentally ill’ is a heavier burden to carry than the illness itself. Being labelled with a psychiatric disorder brings profound social stigma, leaving some people outcast all their lives.’

It is showing Tuesday 27th April at 8.30pm at Wednesday 28th April 2010 at 4.30pm and 12.30pm.

A friend told me about the experiment that was conducted back then. I will have to see if I can find more details about it and post it here.