Brexit debate ‘far from settled down’ says Alastair Campbell
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Good Morning Britain presenter Alastair Campbell has opened up about his children’s mental health issues after speaking about his own psychotic breakdown. The former Labour spokesperson, 64, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about joining forces with revolutionary mental health platform, Just Ask A Question, as well as documenting his battle with depression.
The best policy is just to be very, very open about it and I’ve never regretted that
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the former political strategist told how he had no regrets about opening up about his mental health.
Alastair said: “I didn’t have any second thoughts, not at all.
“I know for some people they find that difficult, but I was a journalist when I first realised that I had mental health problems.
“Because I had a psychotic breakdown and was hospitalised, people in the media knew what had happened,” he explained.
He went on to share why he decided to be “very open” about what had happened, adding that he’s “never regretted” it.
Alastair continued: “When I went back to The Mirror, I left the paper I was on and went back to The Mirror where I had been before.
“They knew something had happened and all sorts of rumours had gone around and I decided there and then the best policy is just to be very, very open about it and I’ve never regretted that.”
The broadcaster went on to tell how he experienced “difficulties” with his family, before praising his son Calum and daughter Grace for their candour about their mental health experiences too.
Alastair said: “I mean, sometimes stuff with your family can be very, very difficult, but now I feel that the openness I’ve had with my family both with me and about me.”
He continued: “My children have had issues, I’ve got a son who’s a recovering alcoholic and my daughter has really bad anxiety.
“They’ve been open as well and I just think that is part of what we’re trying to do with JAAQ and with mental health care and making people feel that there’s no shame and there’s no stigma and there’s nothing wrong with trying to get help if you think you need it.”
“I think on its own it can give help to people but it might be a gateway to people realising, ‘do you know what, maybe I do need to go and see somebody, maybe I should try medication.'”
In 2018, Alastair’s son Calum celebrated being sober with an anniversary post on Twitter.
He told his 5,000 followers: “5 years ago today I had my last drink. The last 5 years have been hard but the best of my life.
“If you have a serious problem with alcohol/any addiction, all I can say is getting sober is the best decision I ever made. I’m looking forward to picking up my 5 year chip later.”
Alastair’s comedian daughter Grace has also spoken about living with anxiety which she started to experience when she was 19, describing it as “utterly terrifying” to The Sunday Times in 2019.
Alastair joined forces with Danny Gray, founder of male make-up brand War Paint for Men to revolutionise mental health support.
The writer features on the website Just Ask A Question, which sees him answer questions about his battle with depression in an interactive experience.
The platform also offers advice and experience from world-leading health professionals and other well-known figures who have suffered from mental illness.
Speaking about opening up for the website, Alastair said he answered over 150 questions about his depression, adding: “It feels like you’re having a proper conversation but your conscious mind knows who I am.”
If you need support or advice, you can contact the Samaritans helpline by calling 116 123.
The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day every day of the year. You can also contact Samaritans by emailing [email protected]
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