Demand for BBC Action Line advice doubles in 2019

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BBC/October Films

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A documentary featuring pop star Jesy Nelson prompted 8,000 visits to the BBC Action Line

More than a million people have contacted the BBC’s information and support service this year – double the number in 2018.

BBC Action Line offers information for viewers and listeners affected by issues addressed in programmes, such as mental health and domestic abuse.

There was a steep rise in requests about sexual abuse, with more than 185,000 people contacting the service.

Meanwhile, more than 83,000 sought advice about mental health concerns.

Documentaries about anxiety and depression fronted by celebrities such as the Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, prompted people to contact the service, the BBC’s press office said.

Alison Kirkham, the controller of Factual Commissioning at the BBC said the corporation had “a long commitment to tackling mental health issues in our programmes”.

“The volume of calls and visits to the BBC Action Line – as well as the increase in contacts received by mental health charities – shows the impact of these films and highlights just how important it is to raise awareness and bring the conversation out into the open,” she said.

Around 8,000 people visited the Action Line support service online or via a call after watching a programme about how cyber bullying affected the singer Jesy Nelson, from the group Little Mix.

Issues such as addiction, bullying and eating disorders also saw a rise in contacts.

The BBC Action Line for emotional distress also saw a huge spike in visits, with 148,185 total visits and calls.

‘Distressing subjects’

Keith Jones, the BBC’s head of editorial & complaints, said: “These programmes and figures show what important public services our Action Lines are.

“They’re a partnership with the many organisations which exist to support those with issues highlighted in our coverage.

“We’re so grateful to them for their involvement and that we can offer viewers and listeners support about these important, often distressing subjects.”

Visit the BBC Action Line website here.

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