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Eighteen interviews later …

Posted on 10 February 2009 | 7:02pm

Interviews. You might think
it’s easy just to open and close your mouth and see what comes out, but as I
come to the end of a day promoting the Time to Change report, I feel more
understanding of the time TB said to me ‘if I speak to one more local radio
interviewer trying to find a local angle, I will go mad.’

Of course he
didn’t, but I do appreciate the feeling. Eighteen was not as heavy a load as
the 23 in one go I did when my novel, All In The Mind, came out, but it was
still a lot of questions and answers.

Most bizarre
question of the day – the interviewer who asked me what I thought of Gordon
Kennedy admitting he had a drink problem. I think he meant Charles. I hope he
didn’t mean Brown.

Biggest surprise
of the day was turning up for ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh show (recorded at the BBC)
and discovering they have a big live audience in the studio. The show is
apparently dominating the afternoon ratings and as I was asked whether I
preferred broccoli to cauliflower (I don’t have a preference, do you?) I wondered why. But when we got
on to weightier matters I could see Mr T has a certain something about him, and
I could see why it appeals. I must also thank him for plugging, far more than I
did, both my diaries and the novel, and for letting me spell out the main Time to
Change messages

What was clear
from pretty much all the interviews I did is a general acceptance that mental health remains one of the last
taboos and that does lead to discrimination. I made several references to the
film, Milk, about the gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk, which I saw recently.
Nobody can point to an exact moment in the campaign when public attitudes to gay people changed. But change they did, which is why even the Tories now say
they support civil partnerships.

And so with mental health discrimination. I
believe eventually attitudes will change for the better. It’s just taking too
long and, today at least, too much of my own voice.

Finally, it’s interesting
that on the Titchmarsh programme I referred to Cameron as Smarmy Chops. Interesting because everyone seemed to
know who I was talking about.

  • Alina Palimaru

    “It’s just taking too long…” Be patient! It is an excellent start, and I am confident that years down the road, people will refer to this campaign and to the support you offered, as a crucial point on the path to change. Just look at the amazing feedback online!
    And as a side-note: Obama’s change plan took a few good years out of his life as well.

    Plus, after all the nonsense (and sometimes insane stuff) you put up with at No. 10… I don’t think there’s anything that can bring you down at this point. So have some tea, get some sleep, and hit the road again! People are obviously ready to give Alastair Campbell’s pet projects some love!


  • student

    I’m a student at what’s considered to be an elite university which for that very reason attracts a high level people who have an obsessive side to their personality. Whether it’s actually OCD or depression or well…any number of things, everybody has it to some degree. In such a pressurised atmosphere, where people aim for the top echelons in whatever field they pursue, no one dares speak about anything that might set them behind in the race.

    I hate the ‘mitigating circumstances?’ box in application forms because I have so much to write and it would explain so much but I know that the employment world would never understand. Having someone on their hands who has clearly suffered major depression would be too much of a liability wouldnt it?

    And yet, in today’s climate our whole generated is going to be beleagured with depression sooner or later. Maybe someone could get in touch with the HR departments and expand their understand of things written in that troublesome box.