Open letter to ITV – PTSD is not a punchline

Open letter to ITV - PTSD is not a punchline

This open letter, although addressed in this instance to ITV, is a reminder of the care and attention that needs to be taken by everyone when talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it’s debilitating symptoms – they are not a punchline in a joke.  

Dear ITV,

We’re writing to you with a heavy heart today to address the comment made in episode 8 of the current ‘I‘m a Celebrity’ season surrounding PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

To be specific, we’d like to highlight our issue with the comment made by Ant McPartlin shouting ‘PTSD’ and Declan Donnelly exclaiming ‘Flashbacks’ whilst their song ‘Let’s get ready to Rhumble’ was played (insinuating that they were traumatised by hearing their old hit).

There is little doubt that this comment was made in jest, but PTSD is not funny, and it’s not a subject to take lightly. It’s a serious condition.

PTSD is a condition which some people develop after experiencing a trauma in their life such as a road traffic accident, bereavement, personal assault, natural disaster, miscarriage, traumatic childbirth, being bullied, sexual violence, childhood abuse, domestic abuse or fire.

It’s estimated that in any given week in the UK, 4 in 100 people have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  – this equates to 2,612,000 people in the UK.

Using PTSD as a punchline in a joke not only further stigmatises the reality of the condition, but it also incorrectly and unhelpfully desensitises people to the debilitating symptoms that can lead to family problems, unemployment, physical health issues, self-harm, homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, and ultimately suicide.

Jokes like this, using PTSD as part of the gag is only one in a long line of examples where people are using PTSD in a really disrespectful way – but feel that as the leaders of the mental health campaign ‘Britain Get Talking’, you should be setting an example and so feel that ITV has a duty of care to its viewers which includes comments like this which are not only unnecessary, but can also be incredibly damaging to those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  

We appreciate the duo’s script is likely written by a third party, so are not making assumptions, or directing this at any particular people, we simply ask that you try to do better. Support those who need support, don’t undermine your own brilliant campaigns, and stand by your word to help those struggling with mental health issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and understand how you’re committed to doing better and would love to discuss this further.

Yours,

Jacqui Suttie

PTSD survivor and Founder & CEO of PTSD UK

Hello! Did you find this information useful?

Please consider supporting PTSD UK with a donation to enable us to provide more information & resources to help us to support everyone affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it

PTSD UK Blog

You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.

Just Wool Textiles X PTSD UK

Just Wool Textiles X PTSD UK We’re excited to announce that Just Wool Textiles are supporting PTSD UK and have created two beautiful scarves and neck warmers inspired by the PTSD UK brand colours and our clouds.  Neil at Just Wool

Read More »

Dealing with PTSD over the holidays

Dealing with PTSD over the holidays Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause a whole host of symptoms, which can affect every area of your life, and when this is paired with ‘expectations’ of how you should feel, it can become

Read More »

Notch X PTSD UK

Notch supporting PTSD UK We’re excited to announce that NOTCH are supporting PTSD UK and have created a line of bespoke bracelets and ‘notches’ where 10% of all PTSD UK NOTCH sales are donated to PTSD UK! NOTCH is an achievement

Read More »

GivingTuesday2022

PTSD UK’s Giving Tuesday £2 request Every year, on #GivingTuesday, millions of people across the globe show up, give back, and change their communities. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond today, and

Read More »

PTSD UK Supporters Store

100% of the profits from everything in our online Supporters Store goes directly to our mission – to help everyone affected by PTSD in the UK, no matter the trauma that caused it.

Treatments for PTSD

It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.