Mind Ambassador, actress and TV presenter, Denise Welch, has today released a film of her and her husband recalling the first time they talked about Denise’s mental health problems where she credits him as her “greatest supporter”.
The film has been published as part of Heads Together, a campaign which unites the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, along with Mind, and seven other mental health charities, to change the way we talk about our mental health.
The film is part of a series, called #oktosay’, which feature people from all walks of life talking about the life changing conversations that helped them cope with their mental health problems. Other films include Mind ambassadors Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax and Alastair Campbell, as well as Stephen Manderson (Professor Green) and cricketer Freddie Flintoff. More films will be released in the run up to the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, for which Heads Together is the official Charity of the Year.
In the film, Mind Ambassador Denise Welch, said:
“When I met you, I’d been living with clinical depression for 21 years. As I was falling for you, I wondered how you would deal with my episodes of depression, which can sometimes be quite frightening. I remember looking into your eyes when I was poorly, and seeing empathy and understanding. Even in the midst of how I felt, I knew that you were going to be there for me, and that had been something I had been worrying about. You make it better just by being there, and just by understanding, and I feel very lucky that I’ve got you and that you’ve got my back.
“I love ‘us’ because you are my greatest supporter, and when I’m really unwell you just know what to do and it means that I’m comforted in my tough times. My depression can rob me of my communication, but I know that I can always talk to you. I want to take this opportunity to say how much I love you and how much I appreciate that I have you in my life.”
Denise’s husband, artist Lincoln Townley, said:
“When you told me about your depression, I had no idea how it was for you, and how crippling you can find it. I didn’t have an understanding of what mental health was before.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry said:
"Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point. We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life. Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead."
Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“We’re tremendously grateful to Denise for lending her support to the Heads Together campaign by opening up about her own experiences and for everything she does for Mind as an ambassador. We know the real damage that silence and stigma around mental health problems is doing. We simply have to stop shying away from talking about it. You don’t need to be an expert to start a conversation and there are no hard and fast rules for what to say, just be kind, compassionate, listen and don’t judge.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people supporting Heads Together and role modelling their own conversations about mental health. We hope that we can inspire thousands of others to follow in their footsteps.”
Denise is joining people like Kat and Beth to talk about the life changing conversations that helped them cope with their mental health problems, as part of the Heads Together campaign. Kat and Beth met at group therapy and struck up a friendship which has supported them both over the years.
“I was really apprehensive at first because I’d never had group therapy before. I was really worried I would be judged. It was really nice when we decided to meet up just us afterwards and go for coffees. It was nice to hang out and talk about ‘normal’ stuff, but also the ‘bad’ stuff. You just understood and we clicked. I’d call you and say ‘I’m having a rubbish day, can we go for a coffee’ and we’d run off down to the café together! We’ve got a really good friendship and it’s extended far beyond the first conversation where we were both nervous and didn’t know what to expect.”