Meet the 78 year old from Gosport who cured his depression by making techno dance music

As part of Men's Health Week, Brian Hug speaks to ITV reporter Rachel Hepworth about his journey to recovery - and why talking about depression is vital.

His brother Mike Hugg was a founding member of Manfred Mann, but now Brian Hug is following in his footsteps, saying: 'It's never too late'.

Brian, 78, has always loved music.

As a young man he toured Europe in the band 'Cherry Smash', but then real life got in the way, and he gave it up to take over the family jewellery business in Gosport, Hampshire.

It was very successful, but decades on, Covid took its toll and the shop was forced to close.

Brian says music has helped him find joy again

It coincided with the breakdown of Brian's marriage and the combination led to a spiral of depression.

"You've got a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, low self-esteem," he says.

"It's hard to describe to anyone who's not been through it."

"Everyone gets depressed, but clinical depression is different."

"You want to just try to solve it or if it gets really bad,  you end up wanting to do away with yourself.

"It never got quite as bad as that for me, but I came close, and I knew I had to do something about it"

His family encouraged him to start recording music again, and he plucked up the courage get behind the microphone once more.

Brian in the video for his song 'Stop Messin with Me'

He says the impact of putting the headphones on was immediate: "It was a transformational moment," he says.

"The endorphins started flowing and  I could feel my mood changing.

"I feel, yes, I can actually do this. It's sounding good."

His confidence grew and helped by the team who run Quaywest Studios in Gosport, Brian has explored different types of music, writing about issues that matter to him, from mental health, to politics and the environment.

He's even filmed a video for one of his dance tracks, "Stop Messin' With Me" at St John's Church, where the studio is based

Featuring on drums and keyboard, his older brother Mike, who's been a huge support during Brian's mental health journey.

"He used to come down and take me out for walks and try and make me laugh," says Brian.

"He's played drums on quite a few of the tracks and and I often run things past him and he's very supportive.

"But really, these songs are my own work."

"My children too have been a great help, including my son, Adam Hug, who's the leader of Westminster City Council."

Mike Hugg, left, with Brian during a recording session Credit: Brian Hug

Brian doesn't believe age is a barrier to exploring new horizons, and embracing new technology or styles of music, but he agrees he may be a rarity.

"I didn't think there's many 78 year olds making modern dance tracks, if any," he says.

"But I still feel 25. One thing I hope to do is inspire anyone who feels lost or has given up.

That includes people in their seventies who may have retired or lost their purpose.

"There's more to life than that and you need something creative to do whether that's growing vegetables in your garden or painting or writing.

"You have to find something that gives you joy. When you get that back in your life you start feeling better"

It's that philosophy that Brian believes can help anyone struggling.

Now he's written a song called "Reach to Me", urging men to talk about their mental health.

And what would his message be to anyone who might be feeling at their lowest ebb?

"That it is possible to change, it is possible to beat it.

"I've done it, and I'm the living proof of it. If I can do it, you can do."

For more details on Men's Health Week, mental health and where to go for help click here