Josh Gale has had a very busy month being nominated for a MIND media award as well as a BAFTA and we are delighted to say that last night at a very glitzy ceremony he picked up his BAFTA!
Josh struggled with mental health problems, all by himself, without realising what he was facing and without telling anyone. As he reached breaking point he opened up to his Dad, Pete Gale, about his anxieties: from then onwards he started to get help. He was referred to CHUMS in 2015 and started receiving treatment for OCD in July of that year. Dr. Hannah Baron was fantastic with Josh and over the course of the next nine months Joshua started to get his OCD under control; by early summer 2016 he no longer required treatment. When he “left” he said that he would like to do something to help, if he could, which indirectly lead to him working with the BBC.
The BBC wanted to make a program about young people who have experience of managing anxiety and Joshua was asked if he would like to be involved. He said “yes” and over the next four months he became part of the team working on the program.
Josh worked with the producer/director and crew to help tell his OCD story. The crew were brilliant with Joshua, hugely supportive and understanding and with a real determination to get the message across to their young audience, that it’s important to be able to talk about mental health. In particular, Joshua had realised that if he had been able to talk about his problems earlier, then things could have been easier for him, especially as he had the support of friends and family.
One Sunday in January, at the BBC in Salford, filming started, in front of a “green screen”. These scenes formed the basis of the animation used in “Inside My Head: A Newsround Special”. Then, at half-term the “live action” was shot, with family and friends: at home and on the hockey pitch with team mates at Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club. His last piece of filming was at a school in London, alongside Lucy from “Time to Change”, discussing mental health with school pupils.
On the day the program went out Joshua was interviewed on BBC Newsround, Radio 5 live and BBC Breakfast, all within the space of two hours.
Joshua was clear that he didn’t want any attention focused on him for contributing to the program. However, working with such a great team from the BBC was a very positive experience for Joshua and which has helped him in his own battle with OCD. But far more than that, the feedback everyone received, both personally and more widely, such as from social media has been very positive. The program contributed significantly to an increase in children and their families talking about mental health and seeking help. And what Joshua said in filming is still true: “if you're worried about how you're feeling, tell someone. There's loads of help out there and things really can get better”.
Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club is really proud of everything he has achieved through his work with the BBC and it’s fantastic that it has been recognised and he has his very own BAFTA.
Updated 18:33 - 28 Nov 2017 by Clare Fitzboydon