Patient 11 is not a listen for the light-hearted. The investigative podcast from Sky News and the Independent follows Alexis, a young mother and ex-GB youth swimmer, as she enters (and re-enters) various NHS psychiatric care facilities.
Following a family tragedy, Alexis is confronted with symptoms that make her seek out help from her GP. Just like any of us would, Alexis trusts her doctor and accepts the offer of a three-day stay in an institution to rest. And then, after just three days in care, Alexis is wrapped up in a gruelling fight to get out of secure mental health facilities for three whole years.
Narrated by Nicholas Pinnock (of Top Boy and Django fame), the story that the Sky Storycast team presents is an extremely compelling narrative of how quickly misdiagnosis and mistrust can lead to nightmarish circumstances with seemingly no way of escape. It is also a grim reminder of how people in closed facilities like the ones described are often treated – with no autonomy or credence as to their circumstances or actions.
Reports of abuse or mistreatment in psychiatric care often go unnoticed, and Alexis’ story should be treated as an important example of how institutions can often fail to see individuals behind the paperwork – and how all of us need to do more to understand what goes on behind closed doors.
Listen with care, but do listen – Patient 11 is a brave investigation that demands to be heard.