You are here: Home - News -

DIFF podcast: We will not get better until we tackle the stigma of depression – Jupp

  • 08/12/2022
  • 0
DIFF podcast: We will not get better until we tackle the stigma of depression – Jupp
Speaking about depression and picking up on behavioural changes will help to break the stigma attached to the mental health condition. Warning: the episode includes the discussion of suicide. 

Appearing on the Diversity and Inclusivity Finance Forum (DIFF) podcast, Rob Jupp, chief executive of The Brightstar Group, said he had depression since he was a teenager. 

Jupp’s mother died when he was 19 and he said he went into a “freefall depression” which led to him drinking too much. He did not do anything about it in his 20s, as he was in denial and had the belief that his life was too “normal and happy” for him to have depression. In his late 30s, once he was a parent, Jupp said it started to affect him more.  

At this time, the conversation around mental health had become more mainstream, and Jupp went to his GP about it. It was then that he was diagnosed with depression and was given the option of medication or therapy. 

“That was when I formally got the title on my medical records that I am a man with depression, but actually, I can cite my behaviour as changing… because I was depressed probably [at] 14 or 15 years of age,” Jupp said. 

Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said his older brother went through a similar path with his depression as Jupp did. 

Thompson said his brother withdrew and started drinking heavily to “mask what he was suffering from”. He said he had an inkling as to what was going on but was not fully aware. 

“That went downhill considerably quite quickly, probably over a 12 to 18-month period,” he added. Thompson’s brother “broke over a family meal” and ended up being admitted to hospital for six to eight weeks. He said his brother has “never been the same since”. 

Thompson said he related to Jupp as this happened after he and his brother lost their own mother. 


Getting treatment 

Jupp started his treatment for depression with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and said he had gone through a few therapists over the years. 

He said: “You get to a point where you’re not getting anything from that therapist anymore. You’re feeling less able and keen to open up and to be expressive and that’s probably [in] my case, the time that I needed to move on. 

“Over the course of the last 12 years, I’ve had five therapists in total. My latest therapist is at the more extreme end of the therapy session, they use cutting edge technology from the US. It’s EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing], it’s a light treatment. 

“Of all the sessions and all the therapy I’ve had, this latest lot has been the most effective for me.” 

Jupp said he used to believe that taking medication for depression was “weak”, which he now described as an “ignorant view”. He said while being on medication himself, he had a “bad episode” in February 2021, describing this as the “lowest point” he had got to. 

He said the mental impact of the pandemic brought him to a point where he needed a “quick fix” to keep going and his GP suggested medication. 

The medication intends to raise a person’s serotonin levels and Jupp started on a low dose, which made him feel like he was always “in the middle” with his mood without any highs or lows. He came off the medication after six months, cutting short the recommended 12-month course and went back to therapy. 

Thompson’s brother was medicated as part of his treatment, which he said seemed to be the default solution at the time, adding that the approach nowadays some 30 years later was “entirely different”. 

Thompson said: “Things have progressed very quickly to the positive… no prescription is the same for everybody. No solution is the same for everybody.” 

Thompson said various things ranging from an outdoor experience, talking, medication or therapy could help those who have depression. 

Jupp said EMDR was developed in the 1970s in America and came to the UK in the 2000s. It happens with the patient talking about traumatic moments in their life with their therapist and the therapist asks the patient to visualise the moment as it happened, then discuss how they feel about it in the current moment. 

He said: “You start focusing on the way forward and you stop focusing on the event. It doesn’t completely evaporate out of your mindset but it isn’t a dominant thought process that you think about on a bad day… perhaps 15 or 20 times. You might think about that experience once a week and that frees up so much of your mind.” 


Dealing with depression at work 

Jupp said being a business leader with depression was lonely because his own mood often influenced the mood of the business for that day. He said people tended to be surprised when he tells them he has depression because he is an extrovert. For this reason, Jupp said he wants to speak about it to remove the stigma attached, particularly with middle-aged men. 

He added: “The biggest age group for suicide is males aged between 50 and 54. Three times more women go to therapy as opposed to men. We are terrible at dealing with this… and we will not get better until we tackle the stigma and say it is okay not to be okay.” 

Thompson said this was the case with the two people he knew with depression who were men, saying he had “no idea” about their condition. 

Thompson said simply asking how the person was feeling could remove barriers. 

“Even if you see a slight withdrawal or darkening of an individual, say something, ask something. The worst that can happen is they’ll say ‘you’re talking rubbish, why are you asking me that?’  

“Don’t just assume people are okay if you see a change in them,” he added. 

Jupp said he was okay currently but accepted that depression would be with him for life.  

He said talking through the feeling of depression was “empowering” and advocated exercising, cutting down on alcohol consumption, enjoying the good times more and accepting that bad days will come. 

Jupp also encouraged listeners to get in touch with him if they needed someone to talk to:

Listen to the podcast [40:14] hosted by Bharat Sagar, ambassador at large at AE3Media, featuring Rob Jupp, chief executive of The Brightstar Group and Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau. 

If you are struggling with your mental health you can find resources at Samaritans and Mind.


There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in