BY JON ALEXANDER
You’ll be surprised to learn that Piers Morgan put his foot in it again. This time regarding Mental Health. The tweet below is what caused the latest online outrage:
Morgan’s tweet provoked someone to comment that considering how high male suicide rates are, this was a rather c**tish thing to say.
I’m with that tweeter. However, my first thoughts weren’t really about what Piers said. He’s a “shock-jock” – someone who needs to keep their public profile up. No different from Katie Hopkins, Jack Monroe, Owen Jones, Laurie Penny and the like. So I wasn’t surprised or horrified. What I’m more conscious of is how much we rely on Celebrities or “Media Personalities” and what they say. Whether it’s politics, human rights issues, mental health or even fire safety standards, they’re always there to line up and tell us what the problem is.
We only have ourselves to blame for most of it, whether they’re a footballer, comedian, actor or “YouTube Sensation” we’ve elevated them to the point where what may or may not have been a joke comment or insult is immediately massive news that organically draws in supporters and haters to comment and inflate a minor comment out of all proportion.
There is a very strong possibility that Morgan genuinely believes that comment and feels his remarks are ‘spot on’ – but that’s his business. As a sufferer from depression ever since I was in my teens, I’ve struggled to get to the point I am at now which is where I can function in life even if depression takes hold. I work very hard at it, there are days when getting out of bed is impossible but still I manage it and try to make sure my life marches on.
Over the last few decades I’ve not really paid attention to the various campaigns to get us talking about mental heath as inevitably they get hi-jacked by celebs and the actual issues never get discussed properly in the three-and-a-half-minute slot that Loose Women and the like allot them so I avoid them.
I admit to cringing when I see a celebrity on TV talking about their depression, I used to get so frustrated with the ones you knew weren’t depressed but had latched onto it as a way to further their own PR. If your depression is triggered by an album flopping or by only the negative things in life or if your depression is lifted by spending two weeks on a yacht and getting a number one album, I would suggest that you’re not depressed really but merely incapable of dealing with the ups and downs that are part and parcel of life in general.
Any depression sufferer will tell you that it can hit at any time.
My mini breakdown was triggered by the death of my grandfather in 2005 but it had been building a long time. When I moved to Manchester I had a good job, made some great new friends yet still felt disconnected and struggled many times to fight my own demons. It’s not easy. This idea that depression can be cured quickly or be dealt with by a holiday somewhere hot is ludicrous. I’m sure quite a few famous people do genuinely suffer – the recent suicide of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington or the past suicide of Robin Williams goes to show that you can possess everything your heart desires and have the world at your feet but still not be able to defeat your demons.
I’m not angry at Piers Morgan for his comment. Whether he meant it or not, I’m rather more upset that an important issue like this can be so easily overlooked and quickly turned into a Twitter war – this means the people that really need the help for their depression won’t ask for it. Sometimes it’s really not a question of just manning up.