Ruth Davidson health: Former Scottish Conservative leader’s long-term health battle

Ruth Davidson health: Former Scottish Conservative leader’s long-term health battle

Ruth Davidson openly declared she valued her “mental health over being Prime Minister (PM)” when her supporters wanted her to compete for office. The 41-year-old has made no secret of her previous experience with clinical depression.

Choosing to stand down from her position at the time to focus on motherhood, Ruth has been keeping herself busy in other ways.

Since having son Finn in 2018, she’s played an active role in ITV’s Mental Health Advisory Group.

The group was set up following the deaths of participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island.

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In response to the tragic death of Steve Dymond, who appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show, ITV have discontinued the programme.

The network has also improved their support services to those who feature in Love Island following the death of former contestant Mike Thalassitis.

Nowadays, the channel offers Love Island stars therapy, social media training and financial advice.

Sitting on ITV’s Mental Health Advisory Group, set to meet four times a year, Ruth’s role is to give practical advice to ITV and STV shows.

Ruth has taken up the unpaid position designed to protect the mental wellbeing of audiences and participants.

The ITV Advisory Group have entered a five-year partnership with mental health charity MIND.

The Scottish mum-of-one has said: “It is a subject with a particular personal resonance and I hope to champion that cause over the coming months and years.”

Speaking of her own challenges, she recalled going into “a total tailspin” after learning of an associates suicide.

Exposed to the horror at the tender age of 17, Ruth admitted her response was to start harming herself.

In an interview with The Times, Ruth revealed she would punch walls and cut herself with blades or broken pieces of glass.

The troubled teen was then diagnosed with clinical depression by a medical professional.

Still aware of her vulnerability to depression, she said: “When I have periods of heightened anxiety, or I can feel the weight of the black blanket start to descend, I go back to what I know works for me: structure, exercise, forward momentum and measurable outcomes.”

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The Mayo Clinic outlines how medical professionals give a diagnosis of clinical depression.

Otherwise regarded as “major depression”, there are a list of symptoms noted on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) doctors implement when making a mental health diagnosis.

Signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

The Mayo Clinic adds: “Symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships and day-to-day activities.”

With the assistance of psychological counselling and, at times, antidepressant medications, people can recover from dark episodes.

If you feel you’ve been feeling blue lately, and it just doesn’t seem to be shifting, do contact your local GP to talk things over.

The NHS can put you on a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course which may be beneficial.

But the waiting time to be put on the programme can be lengthy.

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