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Fighting Stigma: Dean Windass 'I was Ashamed to Admit I was Depressed'

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The BBC reported earlier this week how former Hull City and Bradford striker Dean Windass was ashamed of his depression following his suicide admission in January this year.

Windass told BBC Late Kick Off that he found his ordeal embarrassing and was concerned that people would think he was weak.

Why does this continue to be an issue amongst people who are 'in the club'?

It's not Windass' fault, but the fact that he felt this way is a continuing reminder that this supposed 'mental health friendly' world we live in is in fact, not. I, and many mental health advocates like me, work hard at alleviating this stigma and yet there are still people who consider it a weakness.

"The hardest thing is to admit you are depressed," he said. And this is true; it took me years to admit to myself that I was depressed.

In fact, the reason it took me so long to admit it was because I didn't understand it. That's exactly the reason I write these blogs, so people understand depression and mental health.

He continued: "There are a lot of people out there who are depressed and they don't want to come out because of the shame -and that was my concern. I thought: 'I can't come out. What would people think of me?' I'd be weak.

"I thought I was fine and that I could overcome it."

This frame of mind is ever-present in people who are overcoming or attempting to overcome depression.

It is directly relatable to a story my mother tells about when I first started taking antidepressants aged 17. People would ask her why she allowed her son to take long-term prescription drugs and she would calmly reply: "If he had a physical illness, I would ensure he was cured as quickly as possible.

"If his arm was dropping off, I would seek medical advice. He is heavily debilitated with depression, so I sought medical advice - who am I to disagree with a doctor?"

The people asking her didn't know what they were talking about. They made a snap decision based entirely on their misconceptions.

And why were they wrongly spouting their ignorance? Because they don't understand mental health.

Like Windass did when he didn't understand it whilst he was worried about announcing his depression and like I did when I refused to believe I fell into that category.

Let's get educated, people.