Insomnia and other mental health conditions should be treated “with the same seriousness as cancer”, according to Tom Bradby, the ITV broadcaster.
The News at Ten anchor had three months of intensive sessions with a psychiatrist.
“I have a highly-paid job, I get ill, I can afford to see the best psychiatrist in the country, which I duly did. And I saw him every week and that felt like the equivalent of being treated for cancer,” he said.
“The mental health provision in this country is so poor. There’s so little chance of really going through the mental health process that you would absolutely routinely be put through if you had a physical illness, that would allow you to reboot your whole brain with different and more productive patterns of thinking.”
He said: “I just wish we could get to the stage in this country where mental health conditions are routinely treated with the same seriousness as cancer.”
The root of Bradby’s anxiety was the death of his parents, which “triggered off a deep crisis that had probably been there all my life – an inability to deal with the potential for loss, the impermanence of human existence,” he explained during a talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Finding the heart of the problem involves “a lot of time and skill and effort on the part of a practitioner”, and many people are not given access to that help, he said.
Bradby said his insomnia developed very quickly. “If you’ve never had a mental health crisis before, you have no idea what one really is and you never imagined it would happen to you,” he said.
« And here I am in my corner office of the ITV newsroom, on the floor, with my feet in the air, having what I think is a heart attack… I was in a sorry state.”
The presenter said: “People say we’re more aware about mental health and we talk about mental health – well, we’re a bit more aware, and we talk about it a bit more, but not nearly enough.”