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Jason Manford reveals struggle with anxiety and urges wider conversation about mental health

Jason Manford at the Olivier Awards 2019. Photo: Pamela Raith
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Jason Manford has opened up about his struggle with anxiety and depression, revealing that at his lowest ebb he felt he could not work.

The comedian and musical theatre performer, who this year hosted the Olivier Awards, told his followers on social media that he had suffered a health scare earlier this year and that he had had a “struggle mentally”, which he had “found hard to deal with”.

As a result, he took some time out of his tour, adding that it was only now he felt brave enough to talk about it publicly.

Manford, who will later this year join a tour of the musical Curtains, said social media had contributed to his anxiety.

Jason Manford to star in UK tour of Kander and Ebb musical Curtains

“I’ve been struggling, you know, finding things hard, and I think social media can sometimes really not help with that,” he said, adding that people had a tendency to compare their lives with those of others on social media platforms.

“When I was at my worst, my lowest, I felt I had let my kids down and couldn’t do my job anymore,” he said, adding: “I suffer from anxiety, depression – and it’s really hard sometimes.”

He admitted to feeling “stupid” about his feelings because of the fact he has “lovely kids, a lovely wife and all these things to be grateful for”, but went on to say that people needed to talk about their mental health more.

“Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. They are two different things,” he said.

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre runs a free helpline to provide mental health and well-being support for theatre professionals. The number for the Theatre Helpline is 0800 915 4617, and the email address is advice@theatrehelpline.org.

More information about mental health support is available via ArtsMinds, a joint initiative between Equity, The Stage, the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and Spotlight

Performers open up about anxiety battles in a bid to break taboo around mental health

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