Gemma Collins opens up about self-harming

Wednesday:Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me; (Channel 4, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 5:00 pm
Gemma Collins
Gemma Collins

Ever since she shot to fame on The Only Way is Essex, it’s seemed like Gemma Collins is someone who holds very little back.

She’s since gone on to take part in other reality TV offerings such as Splash, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother, and Dancing on Ice, as well as her own show, Diva, a title that plays up to her public image as someone who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it.

However, Gemma has often suggested that there’s a gap between her TV persona as ‘the GC’ and the real person who exists away from the cameras.

On the CBBC show Celebrity Supply Teacher, she said: “Although I’m Gemma Collins I’ve [also] got my brand, the GC.

“Gemma Collins is a homely girl who loves watering hanging baskets.

“The GC, which is my brand, is basically a character that’s over the top that people either love her or hate her, but on the back of her I’ve managed to launch perfumes and lipsticks.”

In the documentary Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me, the reality star is showing another different side to herself and opening up about an aspect of her life that she has previously kept very private – her struggle with self-harm, which has been going on for two decades.

Gemma speaks to her therapist, family and friends, as she confronts her demons and explores the impact the issue has had on her own life as well as those of her loved ones.

She also looks back on the times when she has cut herself in a bid to understand the events in her life that led her to self-harm.

It’s a very personal film, but it also reminds us that Gemma is far from alone.

In the last 10 years reported cases of self-harm have risen by 70 per cent, with more than a third of 16 to 25-year-olds in Britain reporting having self-harmed at some point in their lives.

It’s Gemma’s hope that the programme will raise awareness of the issues and help people to spot the signs in family and friends, while also showing some of the support available for those who are struggling with the issue themselves.

As Rachel Arnold, Creative Director of Definitely, one of the production companies behind the show, says: “This isn’t Gemma as a celebrity, this is a woman being her authentic self.

“In confronting her own demons, and trying to understand what’s behind these shocking statistics, this film will be relatable for millions of people across the country who are struggling with self-harm.”

Research by the charity Mind has shown that when people in the public eye speak out about their mental health, it does encourage others to do the same – it’s claimed that as many as one in five people opened up to a loved one after a celebrity addressed their issue.

So, hopefully Gemma can lift the stigma that surrounds discussing self-harm and remind us that help is always out there.

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