In the Media - men and depression

Over the last month or so it seems like every few days a celebrity or politician has come out to talk about their depression, and in some cases, their suicidal thoughts.

What has been the cause of all these admissions, mainly from middle-aged men?

Mental Health Discriminiation Bill

It was National Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, and a few days later Gavin Barwell MP took the Mental Health Discrimination Bill to the House of Commons. During the debate in the Commons, MPs revealed their history of mental health problems, Tory MP Charles Walker revealed he had suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for the last 31 years, and Labour MP Kevan Jones opened up about his battle against depression.

Walker said the Bill would "provide so much hope, so much reassurance to many millions of people out there".

He said: "What was totally overwhelming actually was the fact that when you're sitting in a studio waiting to be interviewed you'd have the people doing the make-up say, my husband, my son, my father, suffers from mental health problems, thank you.

"And then you'd go through to the next level and meet the producer and the producer would quietly say I've suffered from mental health problems for a number of years, thank you for giving me a voice."

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, who spoke in June about her battle with post-natal depression, said: "This bill sends the message that if you had a previous experience of a mental health problem, that does not make you unpredictable or dangerous and there should be no barrier to you taking a full part in public life."

The Mental Health Discrimination Bill will now go forward to committee stage before coming back to the Commons for a final vote, expected early next year.

Our suicide prevention work - Call to Action, U Can Cope and We're in your Corner

In line with those activities, we were part of Call to Action (working group of organisations aiming to reduce suicide across England), involved in 'U Can Cope' (media campaign to support and promote World Suicide Prevention Day), and launched our new campaign 'We're in your Corner' in September 2012, aimed at men in their 30s, 40s and 50s from disadvantaged backgrounds, who our research has found are the most at risk of suicide.

Celebrities recently in the media talking about their depression

Here are just a few examples of men in the media recently talking about their mental and emotional health issues, and the circumstances that led them to their crisis points:  

  • Jack Straw, politician: troubled upbringing, relationship breakdown
  • Antonio Carluccio, TV chef: alcohol abuse, gambling, sibling death, relationship breakdown
  • Darren Cousins, English cricketer: early retirement through injury, financial issues, relationship breakdown, alcohol abuse
  • Ronan Keating, musician: relationship breakdown
  • Martin Daubney, former editor of Loaded magazine: work/life balance, financial issues
  • Tim Ambrose, English cricketer: work stress / competition
  • David Walliams, comedian: relationship breakdown