Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Fearne Cotton explains how social media can be “dangerous” for people with depression

fearne cotton.JPG

Fearne Cotton has always been willing to discuss her struggles with depression in the public eye; since her diagnosis several years ago, she has opened up about the symptoms she experienced, the warning signs she missed, the medication that doctors prescribed for her, and how her life has changed as a result.

Now, in a bid to further encourage conversations about mental health, she has opened up about the effects social media can have on depression sufferers – both positive and negative.

Read more: These mental health greeting cards will remind you that you’re not alone

Speaking to the BBC about her own presence on social media (and, in particular, the ‘happy’ photos she shares on Instagram), Cotton explained: “Social media is a tricky one because I love it and I dislike a lot of it as well.

“I like the fact that it gives me a control as to what I would like people to see of me, it’s less hearsay, less second-hand news. But the bit that is dangerous, especially for younger women, is looking at other people’s lives and doing that awful ‘compare and despair’ sort of thing. You put your own life against others and [sometimes you start] believing in the fantasy that you see.”

The TV and radio host added: “I do try and show a fair reflection of what my days are like, but I don’t think I would have wanted to have put any of my episodes of depression on there, as it feels like the wrong platform.”

Cotton, who went public with her depression diagnosis in a bid to tackle the taboos around mental health, admitted that she was terrified of speaking out at first.

However she needn’t have worried, as the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“[Going public] was the most terrifying part,” revealed the 35-year-old, “but the response has been amazing.

“I had three friends in one week come to me – and none of us had spoken a word to each other about our own experiences – to [tell me they also had depression]. And we’ve all talked about that now, and I think that helps to dissipate any shame or fear about that being part of your backstory.

“That’s been the loveliest part of it. I did not dream that this would be the response that I would get.”

Read more: Fearne Cotton opens up about her depression symptoms

Cotton continued: “Loneliness is such a huge problem on planet earth and if you are in that position it is incredibly tough. I think there are always people willing to listen, either professionally or a friend or colleague, but it’s having that courage to speak out first.”

She added: “I am very fortunate to have a great, small but great, circle of friends that I implicitly trust. And that’s a comfort blanket for me in this subject.”

Spring in jacket form 🌻

A post shared by Fearne (@fearnecotton) on

Just a few weeks ago, Cotton was announced as the official ambassador for Mind, the mental health charity.

Speaking about her appointment, Cotton explained: “Through my new role as a Mind ambassador I would like to try and help stop the subject of depression being such a taboo. Depression is more common than people realise and one in six people will experience it during their lifetime.

“It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever faced in my life.”

Read more: Selena Gomez’s speech about her mental health battle is so powerful

She added: “I hope that by speaking out about the challenges I faced it might just help others going through similar experiences. I am absolutely delighted to be joining Mind and helping the charity to raise awareness of the many ways that people can build their own resilience and maintain good mental wellbeing.”

H.A.P.P.Y 🌈

A post shared by Fearne (@fearnecotton) on

Depression, according to Mind, is a low mood that causes us to feel sad, hopeless, or miserable about life; these feelings last for a long time, and usually affect our everyday life.

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Feeling upset or tearful
  • Finding no pleasure in life or the things you usually enjoy
  • Feeling isolated and unable to relate to others
  • Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Finding yourself unable to concentrate
  • Feeling hopeless, empty, or numb

Physical symptoms include:

  • Losing interest in sex
  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Physical aches and pains with no cause
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Moving very slowly
  • Having no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight

However, while there are many signs and symptoms, everyone’s experience of depression will vary. As a general rule of thumb, mental health experts advise that you visit your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks.

You can find out more information – including a series of approved self-care tips – on the Mind website.

Images: Instagram


fearne cotton depression symptoms mind.JPG

Fearne Cotton is channelling her depression into something positive


These comics show what it’s really like to live with anxiety

fearne cotton mental health.jpg

Fearne Cotton opens up about coping with depression


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Sienna Miller’s backstage inspiration to Jennifer Lopez’s cosy couple snap

by Nicola Colyer
23 Aug 2017

Prince Harry emotionally criticizes the paparazzi over Diana’s death

“She was still very much alive on the back seat of that car”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Aug 2017

Chrissy Teigen gets real about her troubled relationship with alcohol

“I need to fix myself”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Aug 2017

5 famous women have been targeted in disgusting private photo hack

Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart and Stella Maxwell are the latest stars to have their pictures leaked.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

Tom Hardy's final CBeebies Bedtime Story is a tribute to his late dog

“Run with the angels... I will see you when I get there”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017

UKIP candidate suggests paying British Indians to leave the UK

And Twitter responds perfectly

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

Elisabeth Moss denies that Scientology is anything like Gilead

The Handmaid’s Tale star discusses the parallels between her show and her faith.

by Moya Crockett
21 Aug 2017

JK Rowling spots mansplainer in the wild, and deals with him perfectly

The Harry Potter author won’t let any woman’s confidence be knocked by mansplaining

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Nicki Minaj’s vintage look to a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants reunion

by Nicola Colyer
18 Aug 2017

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017