I REALLY want to give Jason Manford a great big hug for being so open and honest about his mental health.
The comedian posted a statement this week which came right from the depths of his soul.
He was brutally frank about his struggles with depression and anxiety, and also how he felt guilty for having these feelings when he clearly had such a happy and comfortable life.
Jason felt as though he had let down his wife and kids and that he wasn’t able to do his job properly.
It was a dark time for him and has taken its toll.
Anyone who has gone through similar problems will relate to what Jason expresses so eloquently.
Depression doesn’t just prey on people who are deeply unhappy, having to deal with bereavement, ill health or having a miserable time of it.
It can affect any one of us and, while feelings of guilt are understandable, they are nonetheless misplaced and can often prevent people from admitting they have a problem in the first place — then going on to seek help.
No one is ever allowed to look tired, fed up or even a little bit overweight. It’s all filtered into a golden glow of complete fakery that should fool no one — but sadly still does.
'A GOLDEN GLOW OF COMPLETE FAKERY'
Jason said it had taken him a long time to admit he had a problem — and you sense he had a bit of an inner struggle before going public.
He mentions the pressures all of us are under these days, especially from social media, where everyone edits their lives to make sure they are seen in the best possible light.
No one is ever allowed to look tired, fed up or even a little bit overweight.
It’s all filtered into a golden glow of complete fakery that should fool no one — but sadly still does.
Far too many people feel they aren’t cool enough, pretty enough or handsome enough.
It’s corrosive and destructive and can lead to deep unhappiness and sometimes even utter despair.
It’s important to look for those signs in yourself and those you care about.
By being so candid, Jason will have helped so many people, but especially young men.
We know the biggest cause of death among males under 45 is suicide — and it’s getting worse.
People such as Jason stepping forward and admitting they feel overwhelmed and even close to a break-down goes a long way to helping those struggling with their own demons.
Far too many people are suffering in silence and feeling too embarrassed to admit they are drowning and need a lifeline.
We have made great strides in our attitudes towards mental health sufferers but there is a long way to go.
People are still afraid to go on medication because they feel it will hamper their chances of employment or promotion. They even believe they won’t be able to have a long-term relationship.
All that stress just makes everything appear darker and more desperate.
We should always check in with friends and family to make sure they are OK and let them know they can talk about anything and that they will never, ever be judged. Jason ended his message with some sound advice for all of us.
'WE REALLY DO OWE JASON'
He said: “Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you are failing.”
This is something we should all have embroidered on a cushion or emblazoned on a tea towel as a reminder.
He also stressed how important it was to share your feelings with someone you love — and not to soldier on alone.
He is so right. The days of being told to pull yourself together, “man up” or maintain a stiff upper lip are well and truly over, and no one should lament their passing.
We really do owe Jason — and all of those brave enough to speak up and share their feelings — a real debt of gratitude.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others.
You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Baffling Danny's no bigot
I DON’T think Danny Baker has a racist bone in his body.
I am, however, baffled that he thought it was funny to send that now notorious tweet of an upper-class couple and a tiny chimp in a suit with the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital”.
Sadly, there are morons who would have used that sort of image as a disgusting racial slur on the newest member of the Royal Family.
They are a disgrace, but Danny is not a member of that odious clan.
To his credit, as soon as it was pointed out he had caused distress, Danny swiftly apologised and deleted the tweet.
It turned out to be too little too late. The damage was done and he was sacked from Radio 5 Live.
Danny has a long- standing fractious relationship with many BBC bigwigs, and maybe this was the excuse they were looking for to get rid.
If that’s the case, he played right into their hands.
He will be very disappointed to lose his job, but utterly devastated if anyone now thinks of him as a meat-headed bigot.
I honestly believe it was a complete mistake.
SHAME ON THE BAG GRABBERS
SHAME on those selfish passengers who stopped to get their luggagewhile flames licked at their feet after an aircraft crashed on aMoscow runway.
The Russian plane burst into flames and 41 people lost their lives.
I hope survivors can live with the fact that people at the back of the plane most likely died just so they could salvage their crumpled coats, bags, booze and fags.
Every flounce counts, Billy
WATCHING all those completely ludicrous and highly entertaining fashion victims gallumphing up the pink carpet for the Met Ball, I couldn’t help wondering how on earth they were all transported to this impossibly OTT event.
There’s no way Katy Perry could have jumped into an Uber dressed as a giant chandelier, or Cardi B could have squashed her massive red quilted gown into the back of a Mini Metro.
So they must surely have had to be strapped into the back of a transit van like overstuffed sofas.
Of course, performer Billy Porter showed them all how it’s properly done.
The star of the utterly fabulous TV series Pose, about the drag scene in Eighties’ New York, was dressed as an Egyptian goddess in head-to-toe gold leaf and carried in on a massive litter by six burly minions.
Not even Lady Gaga stripping down to her skimpies and writhing about on the steps of the venue could compete with that entrance.
The theme was camp – and boy did Billy Porter nail it.
DANNII X FACTOR BOOMERANG?
RUMOURS abound that Dannii Minogue is being wooed by Simon Cowell to join The X Factor judging panel.
It’s a bid to get back to the glory days, when 17million of us tuned in to watch all the wannabe warblings.
Dannii, who left the show nine years ago, was a hands-on judge who cared passionately about her contestants and I reckon it would be a great idea to bring her back.
Even better though, how about Simon opens up the cheque book again and signs both Dannii and her sister Kylie?
They would bring something really fresh and new to the show, and the sibling rivalry would be fascinating to watch.
Lulu's still got her Fire
I LOVED that photo of Lulu hopping on the Tube to London’s O2 Arena to perform on stage with Take That.
Lulu is in her seventies but looks at least two decades younger and is reprising her turn in hit Take That single Relight My Fire.
She wisely realised the quickest and most reliable way to get to the venue on time was on the Tube.
Of course, she may also have used an OAP travel pass.
But she joked that no one stood up to offer “this old bird” a seat.
You can hardly blame them really – she looks fitter and younger than most thirtysomethings.
Di would have been so proud
THE photos of a proud Harry, radiant Meghan and cute baby Archie were adorable but the image that summed up the sheer joy of the baby’s arrival was the three of them with grandma Doria and great-grandparents Prince Philip and the Queen.
I’ve rarely seen Her Majesty looking so relaxed and joyful.
It’s a lovely, natural image of a Royal Family with their feet in the past but eyes fixed firmly on the future.
As always at times like these, thoughts turn to the late Princess Diana, who would have been in her element.
This would have been her fourth grandchild and everyone of them would have been so precious to her.
Diana would have spoiled them all rotten and been the “fun” gran that takes the kids to theme parks and fills them full of chocolate.
I’m sure, amid all his happiness, Harry would have had a quiet moment to himself thinking about his mum.
Diana would also have been so proud of her daughter-in-law, who looked so beautiful, proudly showing off her post-baby tummy in a pristine, crisp white dress and somehow managing not only to fit into high heels but also sashay in an elegant fashion.
My admiration knows no bounds – as I wore a tatty tartan dressing gown and comfy slippers until my daughter Rosie went to primary school.
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