Michael Buchanan

Mental Health Crisis, Various

This is a joint submission from myself and Andy McNicoll a reporter from Community Care.

In a unique collaboration between BBC News and the online journal Community Care, we have exposed the failings in England’s mental health system and the damage it is causing patients.  Combining Freedom of Information requests, the personal testimony of patients and the insights of senior frontline professionals, our investigations have shown that teenage mental health patients are having to travel huge distances to get care or being treated wholly inadequately on adult wards, that adult patients are having to travel hundreds of miles, sometimes in the middle of night, to get a psychiatric bed and that the pressure on beds is so great that several people have died having been told that no beds were available to treat them. We have worked jointly on all the stories and our work has set the agenda in the public’s understanding of the problems within the mental health system and has led to the government vowing to improve the system and invest new money in psychiatric services. Due to the unique nature of our collaboration, we have been able to get our stories on BBC radio, TV and online and to reach the professionals who live these pressures on a daily basis, people who trust and respect the work of Community Care. Our submission includes 3 of the written stories we jointly worked on as well as a radio version of the teenage mental health story and a TV version of the suicides story.  

Journalistic Writing

Bed shortage sees mentally unwell children sent hundreds of miles for care – 2/20/2014, Community Care Rise in mental health patients sent out of area  – 5/6/2014, Community Care Deaths linked to mental health beds crisis as cuts leave little slack in system – 11/28/2014, Community Care  


Suicides – 11/28/2014, BBC1  


Teenage Mental Health – 2/20/2014, BBC Radio 4 / Today Programme Out of Area Placements – 5/6/2014, BBC Radio 4 / Today Programme