LONDON, JULY 19TH— In what were described as “guerrilla raids,” BBC Channel 4 “straitjacketed” the statues of four widely admired Britons: Churchill and Florence Nightingale in London, Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury and Samuel Johnson in Lichfield.
Each figure was “restrained” in a bespoke strait-jacket which had the mental illness they are reputed to have had stamped across it. Churchill’s was labeled DEPRESSION.
The straitjacketing was carried out to promote Channel 4’s season of prime-time programming challenging mental health stigma and discrimination, “4 Goes Mad,” which started on Monday 23 July. The stunt was also captured as part of a short film aired on Channel 4’s “Random Acts.”
Commissioning Editor Lina Prestwood said: “Despite the fact one in four of us are likely to experience a mental health condition in our lifetime, misunderstanding and stigma persists.”
We can easily agree that Channel 4 has gone mad, but perhaps not quite in the way they mean; that they know little about Churchill, or his vastly over-hyped depression; and that misunderstanding and stigma certainly persist where Sir Winston is concerned.
See also “Depression and ‘Black Dog'” on this site.