The vivacious 59-year-old disagrees with the government’s decision to divert funds away from brain research towards ‘sexy’ diseases like breast cancer, despite the fact that depression costs the UK £8.6 billion a year.
“People are still told that depression is self-indulgence. With MRI scanners now we do know it’s a physical illness like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. If we figure out how the brain works, we wouldn’t have to spend money on over-populated prisons. Instead of new-born psychopaths, we could catch mental illness in the young. We could educate teachers to spot the signs early”, she explains.
The US-born comedian, famous for her brash manner and contribution to hit comedy Absolutely Fabulous, is now studying for an MA in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Oxford University.
She now hosts a live stage show called Mad Confessions on Channel 4, in which she invites members of the audience on stage to address issues of depression.
As a former patient at The Priory rehabilitation centre, Ms Wax understands the social repercussions of having depression. She believes workers are reluctant to admit to mental illness in the workplace for fear of facing prejudice and losing their jobs.
Despite the government’s attempts last year to recognise the interconnectedness of physical and mental health with its ‘no health without mental health’ strategy, mental health services across the country are still undergoing significant cuts.
Ms Wax hopes her campaign will reverse cuts and get to the root of some of the country’s biggest problems. She believes that by recognising and accepting depression, we can begin to take steps towards treating it appropriately and help prevent future problems to do with crime and social degeneration.
Please visit our page on Depression to find out how a counsellor could help.
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