Winston Churchill’’s ”black dog” wouldn”t have let him be Brit PM today

February 10th, 2009 - 3:02 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 10 (ANI): Winston Churchill would have never become the British Prime Minister had he been alive today, says Alastair Campbell, former PM Tony Blair’’s director of communications.
He said that Churchill, who led UK during World War II, would have been stigmatised because of his depression, which he called as his “black dog”.
In a report highlighting the issues around mental illness, Campbell said other great public figures such as Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Marie Curie had some form of mental problem.
And he claimed that all the above people might never have achieved great things if they had been subjected to today’’s intense media glare and harsh public scrutiny.
Campbell, who was open about his depression during his time working for Mr Blair, said that he had his first breakdown in 1986 when he was a journalist.
The report, titled ”A World Without”, written on behalf of Time to Change, a campaign from leading mental health charities, was co-authored with historian Nigel Jones.
The report highlighted how mental illness leads to partiality in today’’s society.
“In the 21st century mental health problems are a big taboo and many of those affected find themselves sidelined, kept out of the top jobs and treated as incapable,” The Scotsman quoted Campbell as saying.
He added: “Today, more than 60 per cent of employers say they wouldn”t consider employing someone with a history of mental illness. Perhaps they don”t realise what talent they are missing out on.
“Had this discrimination applied to Churchill, Lincoln, and Nightingale we can safely say that today’’s world would be a very different place.”
He further said that Britain could not have afforded to write off such an important leader as Churchill.
“But how many other potential great politicians with mental health problems have been sidelined and stunted because of social stigma, or stay out of the front line because of their fears of how their so-called weaknesses will be exposed and attacked? Could the next Churchill be missed?” he said.
Campbell said: “As I watch politicians and other public figures deal with the pressures of modern leadership, not least dealing with harsh 24-hour scrutiny, I sometimes wonder how these great historic figures would have fared had they been alive today.
“Churchill with his depressions, drinking and long lie-ins; Darwin with his severe anxiety and mental torment.
“I am not convinced that a modern politician who admitted to mental health problems would be able to get to the top. (ANI)

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