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'Peaky Blinders' Has An Important Underlying Message About Mental Health

'Peaky Blinders' Has An Important Underlying Message About Mental Health

Many of the characters throughout the show have been seen battling with the consequences of their time at war

Tom Wood

Tom Wood


If you've still not made it through the latest series of Peaky Blinders and don't want to spoil any surprises, you might want to stop reading this article right now - the Kurupt FM crew chatting with Star Wars' Daisy Ridley?

In the words of Tommy Shelby, 'you can change what you do but you can't change what you want'. So if you don't want spoilers... well, you've been warned.

So, that's it for another series of Peaky Blinders, and it's been emotional to say the least - not least because of the way the show has handled an important mental health issue. How, you ask? Well, let us explain.

Luca Changretta finally got what was coming to him (though we'll miss Adrien Brody chomping through toothpicks as well as the scenery) and Tom Hardy's cult figure Alfie Solomons eventually met his end - putting a pretty definitive end to our dreams of a spin-off.

peaky blinders
peaky blinders

Credit: BBC / Peaky Blinders

All of the while Tommy Shelby and his family keep coming back from the dead, in certain cases literally. After masterminding the end of the vendetta with Changretta, the members of Shelby Company Ltd forced Tommy to take a holiday.

While it was certainly different to see him (sort of) playing golf, and fishing, the time off didn't suit Tommy all that well.

Sitting beside a quiet pond with his fishing rod he imagined the sound of artillery from his time fighting in the First World War, and jumped into the water out of sheer fright.

This led him into a gin-fuelled nightmare that he only emerged from after an intervention from Polly.

The show has tackled the problem of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) head on throughout the whole run, with several major and minor characters shown as sufferers from their time in France.

peaky blinders
peaky blinders

Credit: BBC / Peaky Blinders

In the first season, Tommy is seen self-medicating with opium, as well as hearing phantom German tunnel diggers in his house.

Meanwhile, Arthur has a long-standing problem with alcohol and drugs as a result of his experiences, and Danny Whizzbang (named after the shells that German artillery guns fired) has psychotic episodes that cause him to be irrational and violent.

The First World War left millions dead, and those who survived were then forced to readjust to life in peace time afterwards.

Some estimates put the number of those who suffered with 'shell shock' - a form of what we now call PTSD - at around 20 percent of those involved in the fighting.

Unfortunately for them, doctors were initially unsure of what was causing the problem. Some thought that it could have been a result of unseen physical damage to the brain as a result of the explosions, although not everyone experiencing shell shock had been close to artillery fire.

Doctors were also against diagnosing mental problems as they thought it would reduce the wounded man's chances of getting an army pension.

Luckily, we now have a better understanding of the condition, and there are treatments available, but there are still many out there who deal with their problems alone.

The first step is to have a chat with someone about it.

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: Peaky Blinders / BBC

Topics: U OK M8, TV and Film, Mental Health, Peaky Blinders