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TV | Janet Devlin: Young, Female and Addicted

Janet Devlin, from Gortin, Co Tyrone was just 16 years old when she competed in the eighth series of The X-Factor in 2011, where she finished in fifth place.

After shooting to fame, loneliness and social anxiety led to a downward spiral that was fuelled by alcohol and resulted in addiction, self-harm and attempts to take her own life.

In Northern Ireland, the number of alcohol-related deaths among women is at an all-time high and increasing faster than anywhere else in the UK.

Women – and particularly young women – are succumbing to alcohol abuse and addiction at an unprecedented rate.

In a new documentary, Janet Devlin: Young, Female and Addicted, the singer songwriter, now 27, talks candidly about her alcoholism and mental health and speaks to medical experts about why young women are drinking more than ever.

The programme also hears from a Consultant Psychiatrist, who considers addiction to be a mental health issue in itself.

Now six years sober, the film also follows Janet as she embarks on a journey to try to understand the root cause of her addiction and how it impacted those closest to her including her mum and her manager, who speak publicly for the first time about the effect it had on them and their lives.

Over the course of the documentary, she meets other young women from Northern Ireland who are recovering from alcoholism, or whose lives and families have been devastated by addiction. Their deeply personal stories reveal the intrinsic link between mental health and addiction and illustrate how easy it can be to fall into alcohol dependence.

As Janet says in the programme: “Addiction to the most socially accepted addictive drug in the world can, and will, take every ounce of goodness from your life.”

Janet Devlin: Young, Female and Addicted

Monday 28 February

BBC One NI | 10.35pm | BBC iPlayer


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