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Jason Manford took to comedy like a moth to a flame after watching the likes of Peter Kay, Eddie Izzard and Johnny Vegas perform at the local comedy club. The comedian has not merely followed in their footsteps, however – he has established his own distinctive brand of comedy. From appearing on countless televisions to sold-out stand-up tours, Jason has become a fan favourite on the comedy circuit.
The funny man’s talents do not stop there – he has also released albums and appeared in numerous stage musicals such as Sweeney Todd, The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls and Curtains.
Jason’s exuberance and talent is second to none but he has had his personal setbacks too.
In a video on Facebook back in 2019, he said he wanted to address his conspicuous absence on social media.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say a breakdown, but I had a struggle mentally and I found it very difficult to deal with,” Manford told his fans.
Describing his battle with anxiety and depression, he said social media can amplify these issues and urged people to talk about their problems.
The comedian acknowledged that people – “especially blokes” – do not talk about mental health enough, even though male suicide is a growing concern.
“It’s taken me this long to be brave enough to say it… I’ve been struggling, you know, finding things hard and I think sometimes social media can not help with that,” he said.
Manford levelled the blame not just at trolls but also “bad news and nastiness… even down to comparing your life”.
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The comic said he suffers from anxiety and depression and at his lowest felt that he would be letting his kids down and couldn’t perform at this job.
Anxiety and depression – what’s the difference?
A key difference between the two definitions is that one refers to a single illness, and the other to a group of conditions.
According to Bupa, depression is essentially one illness. Although it has lots of different symptoms and may feel very different to different people, the term refers to a single condition.
“Anxiety, on the other hand, is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of more specific conditions,” explains the health body.
“The most prevalent of these is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which may affect between four and five in every 100 people in the UK,” it says.
Anxiety also spans several less common conditions, some of which you may have heard of.
“These include phobias, panic disorders, adjustment disorder and stress reaction,” adds Bupa.
How to treat mental health issues
Treatment usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines.
The treatment recommended will be based on the type of mental health issue you have.
If you have mild to moderate depression that is not improving, or moderate depression, for example, you may find a talking therapy helpful, says the NHS.
If you have moderate to severe depression, your GP may recommend antidepressants.
Antidepressants are a type of medicine used to treat clinical depression.
If you need to talk to someone about your mental health issues, try the UK’s leading mental health charity Mind.
You can contact them on: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
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