Orygen’s expertise in suicide prevention was broadcast to the world in May when Associate Professor Jo Robinson was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.
Associate Professor Robinson, Orygen’s head of suicide prevention research, appeared alongside Prince Harry via Zoom in the final episode of “The Me You Can’t See," a six-part documentary series co-created by Ms Winfrey and Prince Harry.
The series saw Ms Winfrey and Prince Harry discuss their mental health experiences as well as different aspects of mental wellbeing, with high-profile guests and experts. It premiered last month on streaming platform Apple TV+.
In media interviews about the series, Ms Winfrey said there was an immediate need to replace the shame surrounding mental health with wisdom, compassion and honesty. “Our series aims to spark that global conversation,” she said.
Associate Professor Robinson appeared in the final episode to discuss self-harm and suicide. “The series didn’t shy away from talking about suicide and self-harm and nor did it sensationalise them,” Associate Professor Robinson said. “I was really impressed with how committed and passionate they were about doing the subject justice.”
Associate Professor Robinson’s involvement in “The Me You Can’t See” went beyond the final episode – she was invited to join the show’s global advisory board of mental health experts in late 2019.
Along with 14 other board members, she helped shape the entire series, consulting on stories, reviewing each episode before it went to air, and advising on the creation of online resources associated with the show.
“They did a really good job of raising awareness of mental illness among a really broad audience that wouldn’t normally be exposed to this kind of subject matter,” she said. “They covered what mental illness really can look like for people and also tackled the more serious end of the spectrum – they didn’t sanitise it.”
Associate Professor Robinson’s first direct contact with Ms Winfrey and Prince Harry was in April, when the advisory board members met with the pair online to discuss plans for the episode Associate Professor Robinson appeared in.
“It was very exciting,” she said, but the early hour of their next encounter tempered any further excitement. “We recorded the episode at 6am and I was at home, where I have very noisy dogs and a family who were getting ready for work. One of the dogs made a brief appearance on camera at one point but didn’t make the final edit.”
You can watch the documentary here.