Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert (Channel 4)

Singer Will Young lived with his twin’s alcoholism for 20 years. Rupert died in 2020. In this shockingly honest, moving film, Will and family speak of the pain and drama of a loved one’s addiction. Professor Julia Sinclair from the Royal College of Psychiatrists has seen first hand how alcoholism is treated in this country. “I think many things in the system are now broken. You want to do the best by the person that you are seeing and you just come across barrier after barrier which is ‘we can’t see them in a mental health service because they are alcohol dependent’ or ‘you can send them to this service but there’s an 18-month waiting list’ or ‘psychological services won’t see them because they won’t see them until they are in recovery’. There’s lots of system problems which make no sense whatsoever  and it’s the patients and the families that are being pushed around in ever decreasing circles, getting more and more desperate. There are so few places to turn to now I think we have five in patient units left in the country. That is it.”

“Health inequalities in this are huge. There’s a number of reasons for it, behind them all is stigma and stigma then drives the lack of money to fund it.”

“They say for every one person who is alcohol dependent it affects five others. And therefore if we think about the public health impact it is far, far greater, even than the 1,600,000 people, which is big enough, who are alcohol dependent. I think that the need for families to be able to seek help often that may be for them, to look after themselves and even if that is informally, perhaps that acknowledgment that we as a family have a problem, that it’s not seen as something that is shameful. While people can say ‘this is my son, this is my brother, I’m not ashamed of them’, this condition that they have is shameful and stigmatizing and would rather it just went away. The bizarre thing is that 50 years ago we thought that about cancer and we’ve moved on from that. I’m hopeful that we can move on from it but to do that we have to talk about it.”

Source: Royal College of Psychiatrists

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