January 14, 2009

When Tony Blair asked Alastair Campbell to work for him in 1994, he revealed his mental health problems to the man who would be Prime Minister.

"I said Tony, you know I get depression from time to time? He said, "I'm not worried, if you're not worried." Alastairs's experience at work is in sharp contrast to the majority who experience mental health problems. "I thought, if the Prime Minister can take that attitude, why can't other employers?" But in a recent survey, only four out of ten employers said they would employ someone with a history of mental illness.

Alastair says, "Depression should be properly recognised as an illness and openly talked about, the same way people talk about a broken leg." He credits his own recovery to the support of his family and friends, medical support, and, of course, getting back to work. "I was incredibly lucky," he says. "Others are not so fortunate. Challenging stigma and changing attitudes takes time. But it happens."

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