AddThis SmartLayers

Praise for reporter who broke silence on mental health

Steve Anderson htfp jpegA former regional journalist who has battled depression since childhood has welcomed a daily newspaper reporter’s decision to speak out about mental health issues.

Steve Anderson has praised Amelia Shaw for writing in the North Wales Daily Post about her anxiety, which has seen people from across the UK contact her about their own experiences with the condition.

Steve, 65, spent 25 years as a district reporter and photojournalist for the Hull Daily Mail, and wrote a feature for the Yorkshire Post in October on his lifelong experience with depression.

During his career, Steve struggled to cope with the loss of a newspaper colleague to suicide and also had to cover the inquest of a close school friend who died by their own hand.

He told HTFP: “If people with depression and a host of other mental health disorders were but one in a thousand of the population I could probably understand their sense of shame or embarrassment, but one in four or five of us – no one seems to know the precise figure – would indicate that we’re in pretty good company.

“Amelia has done what I did in the Yorkshire Post last October and lifted this veil over being unable to cope with life or, at least, functioning with the greatest of difficulty.

“People such as us two, Alastair Campbell, Monty Don and other well-known sufferers of poor mental health are not brave in talking openly about our battles. We’re merely being matter-of-fact about a very common set of conditions that is just as prevalent as cancer, kidney stones, hernias and the like.

“It’s time that we all accepted this, discussed our emotional hang-ups freely and openly and showed our empathy to those in need.”

Of his own experience, Steve added: “One of the worst aspects of anxiety and depression, apart from this dreadful, nonsensical stigma, is the fact that the sufferer going through yet another ‘episode’ seems convinced that normality – whatever than means – will never return.

“No matter how many times I’ve been in this very dark place, I can never believe that life will ever be worth living again. It’s irrational, I know, but the mind and the heart don’t talk to each other when periods of anxiety and depression strike, often unawares, leaving the victim to tackle the overwhelmingly powerful symptoms yet again.

“The mind, because it’s ‘been there countless times before’, must realise that such episodes will pass, but the heart begs the question: Yes, but what if it doesn’t this time, my condition worsens and I don’t ever recover?”

Amelia, a multimedia journalist for the Daily Post, lifted the lid on her battle with anxiety in a forthright piece for the paper earlier this month.