North East actress and broadcaster, Denise Welch, has opened up about her own mental health in the hope that it will encourage other people to seek help.
To coincide with Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (1-7 May) Denise told ITV News Tyne Tees presenter Pam Royle about how her 30 year battle with depression began with the birth of her son, 28-year-old Matthew.
"Many women first experience of severe depression can start at childbirth. With a lot of women, many women, they can make a complete recovery. Sadly, with me, I didn't and it opened up a tendency to that so I have lived with clinical depression for nearly thirty years now."
When Denise was filming with Coronation Street, she said she had two nervous breakdowns - both she felt she had to hide. She began what she describes as 'self medicating' using alcohol and drugs.
Five years ago she stopped and she now says she is feeling better than ever.
Denise still has clinical depression but says that now she feels more in control.
"I started to self-medicate. Anyone who has dealt with severe clinical depression will know that, at times, you will do anything to stop the pain. I mean and anything. Unfortunately I turned to drink and drugs to try and alleviate, albeit for a short time, the pain. As I say, it wasn't a logical decision. I knew what I was doing was wrong but nothing else was stopping the pain."
Signs you could be depressed according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent aches or pains
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Thoughts of suicide
If you are concerned about your own mental health, or the mental health of someone you know, you can find help here: