Gemma Collins’ decision to front self-harm film hailed as ‘brave’

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Gemma Collins’ Decision To Front Self-Harm Film Hailed As ‘Brave’
Gemma Collins, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Alex Green, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Gemma Collins took a “brave decision” in agreeing to discuss her experience of self-harm in a Channel 4 film, according to a commissioning editor for the broadcaster.

The documentary aims to “spark vitally important conversations” around young people and mental health, Lee McMurray said.

Former The Only Way Is Essex star Collins will meet others who have struggled and hear their stories in Gemma Collins Self Harm & Me, which will broadcast later this year.

The reality TV personality will also explore how bullying, self-esteem issues and the impact of social media can contribute to young people starting to self-harm.

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Collins, who turned 40 in January, will also hear from experts and learn how to identify signs of self-harm in family and friends and get guidance on what support is available.

Made by Definitely for Channel 4, the film was commissioned by McMurray and will be executive produced by Rachel Arnold and Jon Green.

McMurray, commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: “Gemma Collins has taken the brave decision to open up about her own experience with self-harm.

Gemma Collins at the National Television Awards in 2019 (Ian West/PA)

“As an instantly recognisable and relatable figure we applaud her courage in revealing her own struggles and hope this film and her insight will spark vitally important conversations around young people and self-harm”.

Arnold, creative director of Definitely, said: “This isn’t Gemma as a celebrity, this is a woman being her authentic self.

“In confronting her own demons, and trying to understand what’s behind these shocking statistics, this film will be relatable for millions of people across the country who are struggling with self-harm.”

Alex Bushill, head of media and PR at mental health charity Mind, said: “It is good to see Channel 4 dedicating airtime to exploring mental health and self-harm, as Mind’s research has shown an increasing number of young people self-harming during the coronavirus pandemic and this can be a difficult thing to talk about or seek help for.

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“Our research at Mind has also shown that when people in the public eye speak about their mental health, it encourages others to do the same – as many as one in five people have spoken to a loved one as a direct result of seeing a celebrity speak out.

“This demonstrates how vital it is that people in the public eye continue to speak honestly about their mental health experiences, including coping mechanisms like self-harm.”

More information about mental health charity Mind, its campaign work and the support it offers is available online.

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