Friday, September 30, 2011

'The X Factor could cause mental problems’

The X Factor is 'playing fast and loose with people's minds', according to the distinguished mental health campaigner Marjorie Wallace.

It is Britain’s most popular television programme, but The X Factor has been accused of risking mental illness among some of its contestants by Marjorie Wallace.

The chief executive of Sane, the mental health charity, says the talent show created by Simon Cowell is “playing fast and loose with people’s minds”.

She tells Mandrake: “It is like 'conditioning experiments’ that took place in the Sixties on animals to see what combination of reward and punishment would drive them crazy. These reality programmes are in some ways repeating these outlawed experiments and this isn’t psychological research, it is entertainment.”

Wallace, a sometime companion of the Earl of Snowdon, is aware of the example of Ceri Rees, a tone-deaf widow, who was rejected four times in six years on The X Factor. Rees, 54, was subjected to several minutes of humiliation after her latest audition.

“Producers need to take responsibility for the potential consequences,” says Wallace. “Things known to precipitate mental illness are feelings of failure to meet expectations of ourselves and others, and social rejection. It can be a trigger to potentially depressive illnesses. The public has a role to play and is slowly realising that it also demeans the spectator.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8797577/The-X-Factor-could-cause-mental-problems.html