Healthtalkonline 'tackles mental health stigma' says Alastair CampbellThe Healthtalkonline.org Antidepressants project is another step towards breaking down the stigma around mental health said Alastair Campbell speaking at the launch event at the Royal Society last night.
The launch marked the publication of our new video resource in which 36 people share their antidepressants experiences on film. Alastair Campbell, who sat on an advisory panel for the project said that by sharing these stories online it is possible to create a new media landscape around mental health to help others talk about the taboo.
Giving a background to the research behind the antidepressants resource, Professor Claire Anderson from the University of Nottingham said that her previous studies had shown that a lack of information was the main cause of dissatisfaction for those who took antidepressants. She revealed that 16% of new medicines are not taken as prescribed. These discoveries led her to approach the NIHR School of Primary Care Research to fund a project on Healthtalkonline.org. Oxford University’s Susan Kirkpatrick, who carried out all of the interviews, explained that more information is needed to support people who take antidepressants because there are so many different pills and they affect everyone differently.
“Some of the interviewees explained that finding the right medication could be like ‘waving a magic wand’ but others struggled with unpleasant side effects, such as anxiety, loss of sex-drive, headaches and feeling ‘detached’” said Susan. “It took some people several years to find a medicine that worked for them, and this could mean simply being able to ‘manage’ their depression, along with other strategies such as therapy.”
One of the 36 people to share their stories was Stuart Jessup who also spoke at the launch. Stuart described a ‘random’ process of elimination spanning 20 years to find an antidepressant that worked for him. He went on to explain how he kept his depression to himself until a few years ago when he embarked upon a walk around the coast of England to raise money and awareness for mental health charities. “Almost every single person I met had a story to tell about mental health” he said. He continues walking and talking for mental health with his current journey around Wales with his dog Poppy.
Visit Healthtalkonline.org’s ‘Experiences of Antidepressants’ section to hear more stories about mental health and antidepressants.
Healthtalkonline.org would like to thank the NIHR School for Primary Care research for funding the project and event, Mark Rice-Oxley for expertly chairing the event and Healthtalkonline.org Patron, Hugh Grant for coming along to lend his support. See our pictures of the antidepressants launch.