Denise Welch speaks to Closer about her battle with depression and addiction: ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel’

Coronation Street actress Denise Welch bravely spoke to us about her two-decade struggle with mental health issues, and how you can find support


by Fiona Day |
Published on

In the past you have spoken about conquering your alcohol addiction, learning to manage your relationship with food, and giving up smoking – How did you recognise that you had a problem?

I knew I had a problem with alcohol when I realised I was powerless over it.

It was affecting my relationships with family and loved ones.

What do you define as the root causes for these issues?

The root cause of my addiction was the onset of my battle with clinical depression which started 26 yrs ago after childbirth. I now receive help hormonally, something I had asked for for 20 years.

How did these addictions affect your diet and lifestyle?

When I gave up alcohol 3 yrs ago, I was aware I was in danger of replacing alcohol with food as I had gradually put on 2 stone.

Denise has struggled with depression for over 20 years
Denise has struggled with depression for over 20 years

Where did you turn to for help with your addiction?

I turned to LighterLife to help me address my relationship with food. I didn't just want to lose weight which I did (2 stone in 9 weeks).

I wanted to change my attitude to food so that I could nip a potential lifelong addiction in the bud. I now maintain my weight with the help of maintenance groups. The group work we do is invaluable. The support is essential but the cognitive behavioural therapy around which it is based has helped me in many other ways.

I gave up smoking a year ago (after 40 yrs) and the techniques I learnt in group helped me successfully become a non smoker.

How do you think friends and family members of someone suffering from mental health issues tackle the subject and help their loved one?

We should encourage people to talk about Mental Health as much as possible. I try every day to lessen the stigma, that sadly still exists, but I’ve seen huge improvements in people’s attitudes over the last 20 yrs.

If someone you know is suffering just let them know you are there for them. Tell them they are not alone and there is help out there.

Tell them they WILL get better and that there is light at the end of what can be a very dark tunnel.

Denise is an ambassador for mental health charity Mind and brand ambassador for LighterLife. You can find support on Twitter @MindCharity and @lighterlife

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