Jason Manford Opens Up On Mental Health With A Message For Anyone Struggling

"Just because you're struggling doesn't mean you're failing."

Comedian Jason Manford has opened up about his recent struggles with mental health including bouts of anxiety and depression.

The 37-year-old posted a video on his Facebook page saying that he wanted to explain to fans why he had taken a break from social media.

In the four minute clip, Manford explains that at the beginning of 2019 he went through a difficult period: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say a breakdown, but I had a struggle mentally and I found it very difficult to deal with,” he says.

The Mancunian father of five said he then had to “crack on” because he had a tour scheduled. The comic toured his show ‘Muddle Class’ from April onwards.

Now, having had time to process what happened earlier in the year, he says he was ready to speak about it. Manford said people – “especially blokes” – do not talk about mental health enough, even though male suicide is such a big issue.

Manford said he was moved to go public with his own struggles after the death of former Love Island star Mike Thalassitis, who died by suicide on 15 March.

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK according to the mental health charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably – CALM.

Manford said he partly attributed his own period of poor mental health to social media and comparing his life to other people’s online.

“People are always saying what they’re up to, [their] house always seem tidy, and kids well behaved, and always look nice, and slim.”

But he said he also felt guilty for complaining about his life when other people are in worse circumstances: “It’s hard because I feel stupid: you with your lovely life, how dare you feel bad about your life... but, like I said, problems are relative.”

He also said trolls, as well as “bad news, nastiness and people arguing about whatever topic of the day” had played a part.

Manford said that at his lowest he felt he had let his children down and was no longer capable of doing his job.

He explained that he felt compelled to share his story so that he could encourage others to speak more openly when they are struggling and find help.

“You’re doing alright, really, you’re doing okay,” he said, adding the advice he was given that “gets me through to this day”.

“Just because someone is struggling doesn’t mean they are failing.”

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.