Denise Welch has said when she has episodes of depression she goes “silent” and this can make her become “almost catatonic” as she warned people about the signs to look for when someone is struggling.
The Loose Women star – who is also an actress known for her soap roles in Coronation Street, Waterloo Road and Hollyoaks – has been open previously about living with her condition for more than 30 years.
Welch spoke to Good Morning Britain on Wednesday during Mental Health Awareness Week to explain how people with depression can be supported by their loved ones.
The 64-year-old said: “It’s good to talk, of course it is, but this is more for the people who love and live with those people.
“Often with depression, you can’t talk, you go silent is what happens to me, so people ought to look out for when there are those changes in behaviour, when someone who is normally very chatty and very sociable and very outgoing, suddenly withdraws, those are big signs.”
“When I had it, there was nowhere really to go for help. That’s why I was sort of a lone wolf talking about it.”
Welch, who is an ambassador for mental health charity Mind, added that there are local support services available if you cannot access NHS help.
She said: “What happens is that sometimes if you’re in a deep depression, which I’ve been in many times…, although thankfully since 2019 I haven’t had a serious episode, but it has made me almost catatonic.
“And once the depression was so thick, it was almost like I had a Bell’s palsy… under those circumstances if someone had said to me go for a walk, I wouldn’t have been able to.”
Bell’s palsy is a condition which causes temporary weakness or lack of movement affecting one side of the face, according to the NHS.
Welch also said: “I’ve never ever understood that, never understood the stigma just because it’s more invisible.
There are many physical illnesses that you can’t see, but they seem to garner much more empathy and sympathy and of course… there are many media figures… who don’t (want to) help us as well. So I think it’s important that we ought to really support everybody.”
Welch recalled one of her first “terrifying” episodes of post-natal depression after giving birth to The 1975 singer Matty Healy and said the pop band’s song She Lays Down is based on her struggles.
She said: “I started to get this increasing feeling of unreality and within 24 hours of that my mum found me trying to crawl out of a window of the flat. I’d lost all sense of reality.”