“Depression is neither new nor trendy”

Good to see Alastair Campbell take Janet Street Porter to task for her poor article on depression last week (which I blogged about here.

It’s worth reading it all, but here’s a good extract:

Depression is neither new nor trendy. It just is. Street-Porter’s article is inconsistent, contradictory and very badly argued. It is the kind of journalism that merely serves to strengthen the damaging stereotypes around mental health problems that stop people with very real illnesses seeking help[.] But ill-informed articles like Street-Porter’s risk leaving people confused and misinformed. Depression and stress are not the same, although it is true that sometimes one can lead to the other.

The truth is, anything more than mild to moderate depression can be seriously debilitating.

Advertisement

Janet Street Porter and depression

Here was Janet Street Porter writing about depression at the weekend:

There’s a big black cloud hanging over parts of the UK, and it’s not going away. Not volcanic ash – but depression. This relatively new ailment appeared on my radar a couple of years ago, when I discovered that more and more women were claiming they suffered from ‘stress’.

The misery movement has rapidly gathered momentum and in recent months it’s become apparent that [the] latest must-have accessory is a big dose of depression.

I’m not sure which is worse: her complete ignorance (“relatively new ailment”) of something that affects approximately 1 in 4 of the population, or the fact she doesn’t think it’s real.

Either way, the reality is very, very different:

There’s no doubt that I do have extremes of mood that are greater than just about anybody else I know[.] My mind was full of questions. Am I now mad? How have I got this illness, could it have been prevented, can I be cured of it? Since then, I have discovered just how serious it is to have bipolarity, or manic depression as it’s also called. Four million others in the UK have it and many of them end up killing themselves.