Alastair Campbell: We all have mental health
Alastair Campbell, Mental Health Campaigner and Communicator, discusses his experiences with mental wellbeing and suggests that it's key to note that everyone has mental health.
Alastair described being hospitalised following a psychotic breakdown in 1986 as, “one of the best things that ever happened to me”, as it was then that he was able to confront the fact that he was depressed and was self-medicating with alcohol.
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“I learnt who and what was important,” he explained.
“I got my career back on track and a year later the first of our three children was born”.
After this, Alastair was able to get a handle on his alcohol addiction and said that he is now using that obsessive energy by focusing it on healthier and creative activities.
We all have mental health
Whilst talking about his own experiences, which by many people’s standards may sound extreme, Alastair was keen to point out that mental health isn’t only the concern of people currently going through problems such as severe depression.
“They say that one in four us will have some kind of mental illness at some point in our life. When talking about mental health, there’s a better way of thinking about it: one in one of us has mental health. We all have it and we’re all on a spectrum of good days and bad days.”
Alistair discussed accepting his mental health and how the highs and the lows are part of who he is but that people’s mental health problems don’t entirely define who they are or what they are able to achieve.
He also suggested that people shouldn’t have to hide their mental health and be made to feel ashamed of who they are.
“Why should we have to shut off major parts of ourselves and our lives?”
Being able to discuss your mental health in the same way as you would about your physical health would go a long way to dispel many of the misconceptions that still exist around mental wellbeing.
In closing, Alastair explained that, for him, having a clear view of his priorities helps him when he feels his depression creeping in.
Keeping on top of the important things such as diet, exercise, meaningful activity and his family help him to come out of his depressive states much quicker than not having that focus.