Alastair Campbell’s career has taken him through many roles: journalist, broadcaster, special advisor and spokesman for the Labour party, and author who has openly written about his personal battle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
His most recent book ‘Living Better’ is an honest autobiographical account of his lifelong struggle with mental health issues, and how the pressures of his political career affected this.
Alastair is also a dedicated supporter of a number of mental health charities, being voted Mind Champion of the year for 2009, as well as an ambassador for Time to Change – and of course, part of the Ask Now Save Lives campaign for Grassroots, encouraging others to reach out and challenge the stigma that continues to cloud mental health and suicide.
How are you feeling today?
Not great, to be frank. On my one to ten depression scale, I’m on about seven.
What can you see from your window?
I see the grey sky, I see the roofs of the houses opposite and I see one plane, I usually see a lot more than that.
What makes you happy?
At the moment I don’t feel very happy but I know what makes me happy, my dog makes me happy, my family make me happy when they’re on form, my football team makes me happy when they’re not second bottom of the premier league. Music makes me happy, both playing and listening, but I think happiness is something you kind of work to over time, it’s about what you set out to achieve in life and work towards that.
We all need support sometimes – where do you get yours?
I’d say mainly from family, from friends and colleagues, and occasionally when I’m down there, a psychiatrist.
Why is preventing suicide important to you?
I had a cousin who took his own life, Lucky, and I often feel that people look at suicide and think that it’s a very selfish thing to do. But I’ve had suicidal ideation and I know that actually, you really want to protect and help the people you love and sometimes that’s how people think they’re going to do it.
Why should I join the Ask Now Save Lives campaign?
Because you might save a life.