15/03/2016 16:53 GMT | Updated 15/03/2016 16:56 GMT

'Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire Reveals Secret Mental Health Struggle

Sarah's performances have made her one of the country's best-loved actresses.

Sarah Lancashire may be enjoying her own golden age of TV, with lead roles in ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ and ‘Happy Valley’ whose second series concludes tonight, but the actress has revealed she’s experienced great lows, terming her twenties “a write-off”. 

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The former ‘Coronation Street’ star who became a national sweetheart as the warmhearted barmaid Raquel, has admitted she has suffered from depression since she was 17, and has on two occasions had suicidal thoughts. 

Her mental health struggle continued during her time on the soap, when she hid a 14-month breakdown behind the discipline of the 10-hour working day.

Her success in shows including 'Last Tango in Halifax' and 'Happy Valley' have made Sarah one of the country's biggest acting stars

Prior to getting her breakthough role, on occasions, she hadn't always made it to auditions, because she felt unable to travel from Manchester to London for work. 

Now 51, Sarah tells the Sun, "Tranquillisers were the worst thing for it. I ended up in a terrible mess. My twenties were a write-off.

"It’s a cruel illness because you can’t see it and you can hide it so well. At least, I can. I’m a genius at hiding it. I think a lot of people are. Actors are bloody marvellous at hiding."

The ‘Happy Valley’ star was saved by her mother taking her to the doctor, a decision Sarah says “gave me my life back”.

Sarah stars in ‘Happy Valley’ which ends tonight on BBC One.

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