I’m a tough cookie and put on a brave face but I’ve been depressed and struggled to cope, says Alex Scott

From the outside I’m sure most of you know me as that smiley woman from the TV.

And largely, I am. I love socialising, I love meeting new people and I love my work. I love to laugh. That’s me. 

But there are still days where I feel low.

These low days look different for everyone – I personally go quiet, inwards, shut myself off.

I’ve been really open about how I see a therapist, and how that was such a positive change in my life.

That said, it was only through my recent BBC documentary, The Truth About Improving Your Mental Health that I was told I was depressed.

Looking at my daily life, many would wonder how I could be ‘depressed’. But mental illness doesn’t work like that. 

It’s so easy to think there are people worse off than us and we have no right to feel sorry for ourselves. But that thought process alone can be really dangerous, and lead to bigger problems.

Mental illness can strike anyone at any time – no matter your age, gender or race. 

It doesn’t discriminate and can come totally out of the blue for some.

Our mental health is every bit as important as our physical health. 

You would still put a plaster on a cut even though it’s less severe than a broken leg. 

But still more of us than ever before are dealing with emotional and mental illness.

Mental illness pressure cooker

Since March last year so many of us have been really struggling to cope with the horrific uncertainty of the pandemic.

Brits are facing physical, emotional, financial pressures like never before while not being able to see loved ones.

We are truly living in a mental illness pressure cooker.

This is only the start and already we are seeing some heartbreaking figures. 

Alarmingly, 13 per cent of Brits admitted they’d had suicidal thoughts at the end of last year. 

And a quarter of us say we are lonely – up from ten per cent from before March 2020. 

It’s great that the Government has pledged £500m towards mental health services.

And last week I launched mental health help site Headroom with the BBC.

I’m by no means an expert in mental health but one thing is clear to me – more of us need to speak up about how we are feeling. 

Bottling up feelings

Most Brits are determined to put on a brave face and tell everyone they are ok even when it’s clear we’re not. 

And I’m exactly the same. 

I never thought I could be depressed. I’m a tough cookie and I don’t ‘look’ like a depressed person – whatever that means.

There’s so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about mental health.

Everyone thought I went to therapy to cope with trolling. 

And yes that was one reason, but it was just the icing on the cake – I’d been bottling up my emotions long before then. 

I would come home from work, drink, not speak to anyone and then wake up the next morning and put on a smile.

Of course this is personal, but part of the reason I went public is to help others overcome this stigma we have when talking about our feelings.

At some point or another, we have all been made to feel ashamed or embarrassed of our emotions. 

Men have been told all their lives to “man up” and may feel shame in asking for help.

Prince William’s Heads Up campaign has done a fantastic job in supporting football players and fans to speak up. 

Meanwhile women are often the glue holding the family together and feel like they have to make everyone happy. 

That can be a lot of responsibility to take on. 

While kids and teens are just learning about the world and can face bullying and social media and peer pressure. 

Whoever you are there’s no shame in speaking to a friend, a family member or even an anonymous helpline. 

Prioritise your wellbeing

Reaching out the first step in helping you feel better and will take a huge weight off your mind.

It might not fix your problems immediately but it starts a positive pathway. 

I’m a strong believer that the best course of action is preventative – and not asking for help only when we’ve reached crisis point. 

It’s so important to prioritise your wellbeing on a daily basis. 

I go running everyday – it instantly puts me in a better headspace and sets me up for the day. 

But high impact sports might not be right for everyone. 

My mum makes sure she goes for a walk three times a week and when I speak to her afterwards I can hear such a difference in her mood. 

One in six Brits say they have had a mental health problem in the past week. 

There is support out there to help you whether that’s going for a walk, watching a documentary or talking to your GP about what can help. 

Mental health affects us all and the most important thing to remember is: you are not alone. 

Alex has launched a mental health toolkit Headroom with the BBC  which is full of free resources, tips, documentaries and advice.


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

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