Last month, much loved British funny man David Walliams revealed that despite his happy and hilarious bravado, he has actually suffered from depression for much of his life, admitting he often experiences periods of intense self-loathing.
He isn’t the only one. He is just one of a number of comedians who have battled depression, from Mind president Stephen Fry, through to the outspoken Ruby Wax, Lenny Henry, and of course Tony Hancock, who eventually committed suicide after a long battle against depression.
According to London psychiatrist Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, smiling through depression and adopting a happy persona is not uncommon. Many individuals choose to put on a brave face because either they don’t want anyone to know they have a problem, or because they are afraid to admit that they need some extra support.
Experts are concerned that putting on a brave face could worsen the situation as not recognising a mental illness could mean that it develops further, potentially increasing the chances of repeat episodes in the future.
Chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, Majorie Wallace, has said that the stigma that is attached to mental health problems could explain why so many individuals are choosing to struggle on and mask their problems with a smile. She commented, ‘People have this idea of themselves as a functioning, successful person who fits in and they worry about losing that image’.
‘Nowadays it’s more respectable to talk about having depression, but there are still many who are not coming forward and not being diagnosed.’ She said.
Though the government and various charities are working hard to reduce the stigma of mental health, there is still much work to be done in reducing the discrimination towards individuals who are suffering.
If you are putting on a brave face but are struggling to cope on a day to day basis and are not enjoying the activities you used to, realising you may benefit from some extra support is the first step.
Counsellors and psychotherapists offer a completely confidential service, so if you don’t feel comfortable at this time talking about mental health to your friends, family or colleagues then visiting a counsellor could provide you with a confidential outlet. To find out more about how counselling could help you, please visit our depression fact-sheet to find out more.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.