Benefits star talks depression battle

Published Tuesday, 18 March 2014
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Dee Kelly, who is one of the more prominent residents in the Channel 4 documentary series Benefits Street, has been speaking to This Morning's Celebrity Surgery about her battle with depression.

Benefits star talks depression battle
Dee Kelly with This Morning's Dr Chris. (© Rex Features)

Famed for her no-nonsense attitude and willingness to help her neighbours, Dee came to the forefront of the controversial series earlier this year.

But since appearing on the programme, Dee's struggle with depression has been highlighted, and even questioned, and she told This Morning's Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley she wanted to raise awareness of the issue that affects 1 in 4 people in the UK.

Dee's depression was triggered three years ago following the death of her mum, leaving her to deal with low moods, low self esteem and insomnia.

She explained: "I used to speak to her 10-15 times a day and see her nearly every day. And for that to suddenly go, it left a huge gaping hole.

"I did start obsessing over my dad, it was a real old school Irish family so you just jump in there because you think he's absolutely useless, but he's not.

"He had to say back off eventually, stop calling me ten times a day."

It was then the mum-of-two began experiencing the symptoms of depression.

"Once I realised dad was OK, there was nothing to do so I just locked myself away in the house...and that is when it hit me in the head that mum wasn't coming back."

Eventually Dee began taking anti-depressants to help deal with her illness and she said she was determined to help people understand what life is like for those dealing with the illness.

She added: "It's just such a common word to be thrown about, if you're having a bad day: "Oh, I'm depressed."

"And people tend not to take it seriously."

Dee also addressed the criticism she received when Benefits Street was screened, as many people felt she was exaggerating, or even lying, about her illness.

"You don't look depressed - someone actually said that to me.

"I just let it go over my head because I've got to concentrate on myself, no matter what you do, if you do really well for yourself, people will still have a go. I don't pay any attention to it.

"The filming was nearly everyday for 18 months, they could show you a whole week where I haven't done anything and I just can't move and someone else is looking after the children."

© UTV News
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