She’s been open about her struggle with mental health for over three decades, and Denise Welch recently celebrated going a year without an “episode”.
“It came up on a Facebook memory on 28 September that it had been a year. That’s
a long time for me.
The longest I’ve gone is 18 months, but over the years I get episodes every few months. It can come on out of nowhere,” she says.
Denise was first diagnosed with depression in 1989 after giving birth to her first son, Matt.
The Loose Women star, who quit alcohol in 2012 with her husband Lincoln Townley, has been working with Mental Health First Aid England and sharing her experiences with others.
“There is still ignorance around this subject and it’s really helpful listening to people who have first-hand experience of it,” she says.
Denise recently became embroiled in a public spat with Good Morning Britain star Piers Morgan after she insisted the media were “fearmongering” in coverage of coronavirus.
She came off Twitter and admitted she was taking a “step back” from social media.
When we catch up with the star – who is also a mother to son Louis, 19, with ex-husband Tim Healy – she’s having a much-needed holiday in Turkey with her dad and her friend, Maggie Oliver.
“It’s been so nice getting away in the midst of everything that’s happening,” she says.
Here, Denise, 62, talks about Piers Morgan, her messy kitchen and why she’ll still be posting swimwear photos in her nineties…
Hi Denise. You’re filming Loose Women from home some days – how’s that going?
The bit you see behind me is tidy, but if I was to move the camera slightly to the left, then it would be piled up dishes because my dishwasher broke just before lockdown.
Often I’ll have one of my husband’s paintings in the background because I can’t be bothered to clean the kitchen. It’s lovely being back.
You got upset on the show when talking about your son Louis moving to London. How are you feeling?
It’s ridiculous because I’m in London every week. Louis said, “Mum, it’s not like you’re not going to see me.”
But I’m like, “I know, it’s just like the end of an era.” It was tough going into his room and seeing it empty, but I was able to retrieve some of the cups he’s been building up over the years. He’s settling in fine in London.
And how’s Matt?
Matthew is working on a solo project. I’ve got two boys in the entertainment industry.
It’s a nightmare, but I’m proud of them both. I’m very lucky that my boys have both got good heads on their shoulders.
How are you feeling about your public spat with Piers Morgan?
I’ve just backed off now. I’ve had enough of it. I’ve said my piece and I tried to do what
I could for the mental health of the people who follow me.
Now I’m just keeping my head down and looking after myself and my family.
Why did you decide to come off Twitter?
For personal reasons, and I’m not commenting on the state of the nation any more. I did what I could to allay the fearmongering.
You looked great in your swimsuit photo…
I always do a swimsuit picture. Not because I’m going, “Oh, look at me.” If I wear a swimsuit and it gives another woman with all her bumps and cellulite the confidence to put her costume on, that’s great.
I will be posting pictures in bathing costumes until I’m 97.
What’s your exercise regime like at the moment?
I’m not one for jumping around, so I try to walk as much as possible. I’ve had lots of addictions in my past, and the one thing I’ve tried to get myself addicted to is exercise, but I can’t.
Your friend and fellow Loose Woman Andrea McLean recently revealed she’d gone through a nervous breakdown…
I hope I was a support to her. We’ve always been close – I’ve always known about Andrea’s condition.
Do you take medication for depression?
I take an antidepressant and a hormone replacement tablet every day. Until they steal
them from my clenched fist, I’ll take them until the day I pop my clogs.
Tell us about your involvement with Mental Health First Aid England…
They’re training people to be able to help people in the right way, and I’m impressed there’s such a thing. The training is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid.