Ross Kemp 'determined to fight TV stereotypes' of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Virgin Radio

27 Jun 2022, 16:41

Former EastEnders star Ross Kemp has expressed his ambition to change the way PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] storylines are tackled in TV dramas. The star appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about how there needs to be a 'more honest representation' of the mental health issue.

The actor explained: "We need drama and conflict inside the drama and it’s only right to see those characters.

"But there are too many of those characters who actually need to address and be a more honest representation of veterans’ mental health.

"And if you do have PTSD or any mental health issue, you can get access to the right treatment to go through that and come out."

Host Susanna Reid quizzed him about Richard Madden's role in The Bodyguard and said: "There is a lot that is described when it comes to PTSD in a drama.

"You know, this idea that a soldier who has seen the worst of the worst out in Iraq or Afghanistan, comes back to be shattered by PTSD, he's on a sort of hair-trigger.

"That’s what you’re saying, it’s a sort of cliche in drama. That is not helpful because, of course, people with PTSD and not the majority of them will not be like that."

Ross explained that PTSD is a 'specific kind of mental health'.

He added: "It's now become an all-encompassing term for a mental health issue. Service personnel, veterans, so it only accounts for seven percent of all veterans, and as you compare that to people in the general community who haven't served, it's a full percent.

Credit: ITV

"So it's not dramatically larger than the people who haven't served."

He continued: "Whenever we see someone with PTSD on the screen, we know they're potentially going to be the angry, mad, sad person. And as I say, you know, it's having a real detrimental effect..."

Susanna said: "The factors of PTSD can lead to terrible problems. It's one of the reasons that we need to be open about PTSD so that it can be treated."

When asked what he would say to someone suffering, he advised: "Don't be scared! Anyone who is struggling should reach out to Help for Heroes," Ross said.

"That is the hardest step, the first step."