‘Lockdown is the worst. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy’

Photo of Simon O'Leary

One of our current mentees, Simon O’Leary (pictured), has made a film about the mental and emotional strain of lockdown. In it he interviews the families and friends of Ben Brown (22) and Daniel Furniss (34) who both took their own lives during lockdown, as well as staff at mental health charities.

Simon reports that ‘charities are warning of a looming mental health crisis as the lockdown is eased. There are fears a “tidal wave” of patients will require care post the pandemic and services won’t be able to cope’.

Marjorie Wallace, CEO of Sane, tells Simon that ‘we normally have a lot of people maybe mentioning suicide but we have almost a third of our callers have been talking about suicidal plans’.

Simon is a reporter and producer and was working for the Victoria Derbyshire Show until its cancellation. Simon is being mentored on the John Schofield Trust’s mentoring scheme for early career journalists by Channel 5 News’s Simon Vigar. Simon is pictured left, speaking to Simon VIgar, at our briefing reception held last summer. You can follow Simon on Twitter at @SimonOLeary_

Simon is grateful to Chris, Chelsea and Aix ‘who all spoke so openly and frankly to tell Ben and Daniel’s stories during a time which has been so unbearably difficult’.

Simon’s film was produced, filmed and edited by Sean Clare.