Actor Keeley Hawes discusses her struggle with depression

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Anna Brech
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Bodyguard star Keeley Hawes talks about how she manages her ongoing battle for mental health

An important part of shattering the stigma around mental health lies in normalising the way that we talk about it.

And actor Keeley Hawes has done exactly that today, throwing in a passing reference to her depression between discussion of her work on hit TV series Bodyguard and The Durrells.

“It’s something that never goes away,” Hawes tells the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine, of her struggle with the condition. 

“I think it’s in your DNA if you suffer with it… I have become better equipped at looking after myself. I’ve tried various things over the years.”

As one of the most familiar faces on British TV, tackling a full multitude of roles, Hawes says that working helps when it comes to managing her depression.

“Keeping busy helps, being forced to carry on, because inevitably it will pass,” she says.

Depression has a parallel relationship with anxiety, something Hawes also has experience of – especially when it comes to analysing her own behaviour.

“It’s a very human thing, isn’t it, to worry about what you say and how you are perceived,” she says.

Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard
Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard

Hawes also reveals that she instantly clicked with her co-star Richard Madden in the BBC hit series Bodyguard.

And despite the grim content matter of Jed Mercurio’s top-rating drama, this was down to their shared sense of humour away from the cameras.

“The secret is we didn’t stop laughing,” Hawes says, of the chemistry she enjoyed with Madden. “You know when someone just tickles you… and also, I think I can say this on his part, too, we’re not the most confident people you could meet and that’s nice to recognise in someone. I felt safe with him.”

In a previous interview in 2015, Hawes said experience helped when it came to coping with her mental health.

“You recognise the signs and what needs to be done. You need strategies personal to you,” she told the Telegraph. “[…] Having other people who rely on you, like three kids, forces you into not being in a state where you could stay in bed, because you just can’t.”

She said she lived by the mantra “today is a new day”.

Images: Getty and the BBC


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.