Stan Collymore is an ex Premiership footballer turned radio host. He's also an avid fan of Twitter.
Fellow ex footballer now turned radio host, Alan Brazil, works for the same radio station as Stan Collymore.
TalkSport is a confusing name for a radio station because the hosts offer up all manners of discussion. The death/suicide of Hollywood actor Robin Williams being one such subject.
Brazil made some ignorant comments regarding suicide stating that he had "no sympathy" for Williams. Speaking on his Breakfast Show, Brazil said “I believe he’s [Williams] got a daughter as well – what’s she feeling like this morning? Now she’s got to sort the arrangements out. I think it’s just shocking, I really do. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, I’m sorry.”
Whilst I find Brazil's comments ignorant, I do feel they were a blessing in disguise. Suicide is...or rather was being discussed, albeit in a naive fashion. TalkSport have since apologised on behalf of Brazil.
Collymore took to Twitter to post about Brazil's stance on suicide.
Collymore encourages others who are battling with depression to speak out and to not hide their depression from anyone. That's quite encouraging as talking about one's depression is, in my belief, the way forward.
I do, however, object to the way Collymore throws around the term 'Mental Illness'. The term relates to disorders of the mind. So, in essence, if you are prescribed an antidepressant by your GP he is doing so because you have a mental illness, your mind is disordered.
Antidepressants are prescribed for everything these days, be it someone suffering the loss of a pet to someone who is going through a divorce. These, and all that fall in between, are not mental illnesses, they are circumstantial situations that need to be worked through, talked about.
Unfortunately, GP's have very limited time with each of their patients. If you get 10 minutes you've done well. GP's obviously don't want to turn away a crying patient so they use something that will benefit themselves - the patient is the last person on their mind when they reach for the prescription pad to write out words such as 'Prozac', 'Seroxat', 'Citalopram'.
It looks like Depression Alliance (DA) is up to its old tricks again… I have written about DA in the past and criticised the part it played in the marketing of Cymbalta in the UK.
In the case of Cymbalta, the medical PR agency, Packer Forbes, worked with DA on the research and campaign for DA’s annual ‘depression awareness week’ in 2005 – which was funded by Eli Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim. Packer Forbes also worked for Eli Lilly & Boehringer Ingelheim on the UK launch and marketing of new drug Cymbalta. You can read about it here and here.
It's unknown if Depression Alliance today are the same as they was back then. If a 'charity' chose to work alongside pharmaceutical companies and help them promote antidepressant drugs then one has to look into the motives.
I'll be writing about a recently filed lawsuit regarding Cymbalta at some point this week.
If Collymore, or indeed TalkSport, wish to discuss depression/mental health then they should offer balance and get experts and former users involved, those who don't have ties to charities that promote, or once promoted, antidepressants.
In the meantime, I wish both Collymore and Brazil well. One is not better or more knowledgeable than the other, they both have their flaws, as do I.
Shall we add Robin Williams to the following list of SSRI casualties or should we, just like the mainstream media, ignore the antidepressant/suicide link?