Huw Edwards reveals he battled depression after his father’s death – but took up boxing to cope

Huw Edwards, 58, reveals he battled ‘a proper kind of depression’ and was left feeling ‘helpless’ following his father’s death in 2010 – but took up boxing to cope

  • Huw Edwards, 58, struggled after father died from cancer in 2010, aged 75 
  • Started eating to numb the pain and ballooned to 16-and-a-half stone at heaviest
  • Enlisted help of boxer Clinton McKenzie and lost impressive three stone

Huw Edwards has revealed how he has battled against depression – and took up boxing to cope.

The BBC newsreader, 58, told how he struggled to come to terms with the death of his father in 2010, and so began comfort eating.

He went on to explain that he kept eating to numb his emotional pain, and that at his heaviest, hit 16-and-a-half stone. 

‘It was a proper kind of depression about how I felt and where I felt I was, my dad and everything,’ he said, speaking to the Times’ Saturday Magazine. ‘I felt it had become rather overwhelming.’

‘The worst thing was I felt I couldn’t do anything about anything. I felt a bit helpless.’

Huw Edwards (pictured), 58, has revealed how he has battled against depression – and took up boxing to cope

It was only when Huw's mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that the broadcaster realised he had to take action - and enlisted the help of champion boxer, Clinton McKenzie

It was only when Huw’s mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that the broadcaster realised he had to take action – and enlisted the help of champion boxer, Clinton McKenzie

The broadcaster admitted that while they never had a particularly touchy-feely relationship,’ he was still the one who broke news to his father – academic and Welsh nationalist Hywel Teifi Edwards – that his cancer was terminal ten days before he died, aged 75.

Huw went on to explain that he continued to present BBC News at Ten – and covered high-profile events – including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – despite having time to fully process his grief. 

However, his physical health deteriorated and the newsreader admitted that he failed to acknowledge anything was wrong until an epiphany in 2017.

‘By 2016-17, I had put on a lot of weight,’ he explained. ‘I felt dreadful. I mean, physically. It’s like a drug. I’d eat when I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t doing any fitness. I was grazing, watching telly and eating stuff, even though I didn’t need it.’

Presenter and newsreader Huw Edwards arrives for his guest appearance at Sandringham Women's Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk, on January 23, 2020

Presenter and newsreader Huw Edwards arrives for his guest appearance at Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk, on January 23, 2020

In March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with 'agonisingly painful' limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished. Pictured, presenting 10 o'clock news on 25th February 2019

In March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with ‘agonisingly painful’ limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished. Pictured, presenting 10 o’clock news on 25th February 2019

It was only when his mother Aerona warned him that he had ballooned to the same weight as his late father that Huw realised he had to take action. 

Following the suggestion by his wife Vicky, he took up boxing and running, and with the help of champion boxer Clinton McKenzie, Huw managed to lose an impressive three stone – while his mental health significantly improved, too.

Huw went on to explain that McKenzie gave him a helping hand when it came to his diet: ‘He just says, ‘Eat sensibly. If you want a pint or a glass of wine, that’s fine. Just don’t overdo it and don’t eat’ – in his words – ‘sugary s***’.’

The father-of-five continued: ‘Getting physically fit has meant being mentally more robust.’

Last year, on World Mental Health Day last year, he penned: ‘Big shout-out to Clinton McKenzie who has kept me going this past year.’

However, in March, Huw appeared to have a Covid-19-related case of pneumonia and was left with ‘agonisingly painful’ limbs and no sense of smell and taste vanished.

Since then, the broadcaster has tested positive three times for antibodies for coronavirus.

Aging baby boomers have 3.5% poorer cognitive function than their parents’ generations

For generations, Americans’ of reasoning and memory – known as cognitive function – got better and better, until the baby boomers came along, new research suggests. 

Data on more than 30,000 people spanning six generations reveals that early- and mid-baby boomers, who were born between 1948 and 1959, show more signs of mental decline than did their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. 

Declining cognitive function is an early warning sign of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, which is already depriving more than five million Americans of their memories and autonomy. 

Researchers at Ohio State University blame the decline in mental function on greater poverty and loneliness and higher rates of depression and health problems like obesity and high blood pressure, which put both the heart and the brain at risk. 

People in the pair of boomer generations are now between ages 62 and and 72, and signs of cognitive decline could be a bellwether that the crippling prevalence of Alzheimer’s in the US is only going to swell as they enter old-age. 

Cognitive function scores declined among aging baby boomers compared to war babies or the greatest generation, Ohio State University research found, signaling they could have higher rates of dementia 

The children of the Great Depression were born between 1924 and 1930 and were raised by parents in the throes of the worst financial crisis the US has ever seen.

Financial woes meant more stress, less family or governmental investment in education and worse. 

Rates of child desertion climbed into the mid 1930s, and an unprecedented number of families could scarcely afford to feed their children, leading to malnutrition which,  in turn, can impair cognitive development and function later in life. 

However, parents were also having fewer children, a decision which often leads to better care for and investment for a smaller number of kids in a household. 

Meanwhile, Franklin D Roosevelt took office and changed the course set by the Hoover administration which had more or less turned a blind eye the impact of the Great Depression on Children. 

A major federal relief programs as well as initiatives focused on bringing food and healthcare to even poorest, most rural children in America were launched as part of the New Deal, and childhood conditions began to improve favorably to mental development. 

Education levels and occupation have improved over the generations, so the OSU study suggests these are not associated with declining mental function

Education levels and occupation have improved over the generations, so the OSU study suggests these are not associated with declining mental function 

Although men and white people in the US have myriad advantages in the US, the trend lines do not suggest either of these explain cognitive declines

Although men and white people in the US have myriad advantages in the US, the trend lines do not suggest either of these explain cognitive declines

From then on, things by and large improved for the American mind – from development in childhood all the way through to maintenance at retirement age. 

Until the baby boomers started approaching old age. 

The new study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, assessed data on tens of thousands of Americans from ongoing Health and Retirement Study (HRS). 

The HRS adds a sample of people from a new generation as they approach retirement age. 

As part of enrollment in the HRS, participants are given a 35-part battery of cognitive tests. 

Scores were, perhaps unsurprisingly, lowest among the earliest cohort, the Greatest Generation (born between 1890 and 1923) scored lowest ton these tets at 19.08. 

Cognitive function at age 51 peaked among the war babies (born between 1942 and 1947).

But it fell again with the baby boomers, declining to 22.69 by the time the mid-baby boomers (born between 1954 and 1959) were tested. 

Dr Hui Zheng, the study’s sole author, found that childhood experiences suggested boomers should, if anything, have had better brain health and cognitive function than their parents or grandparents. 

Alzheimer's rates have been more stable in younger generations, but the new data suggests they could climb with boomers

Alzheimer’s rates have been more stable in younger generations, but the new data suggests they could climb with boomers 

Incomes and household wealth have dipped, which the study suggests account for a considerable proportion of the change in cognitive function

Incomes and household wealth have dipped, which the study suggests account for a considerable proportion of the change in cognitive function 

Even elements of adulthood – such as high rates of white collar jobs and more years of education – should have set baby boomers up for better brain health. 

But other factors outweighed these advantages. 

Despite the type of work they did and the education they’d received more baby boomers fell into lower household wealth brackets for their generation compared to the greatest generation or war babies. 

And socially, they are lonelier and less likely to be married, adding to psychological distress that can chip away at cognitive health. 

Baby boomers also have some unhealthy habits not seen at such rates. in previous generations. 

Compared to war babies or the greatest generation, baby boomers were more likely to be obese, inflammation from which may also harm the brain. 

But lack of physical activity accounted for an even larger portion of the disparity between baby boomers’ cognitive health and that of their predecessors. 

‘This decline may potentially reverse past favorable trends in dementia as baby boomers reach older ages and cognitive impairment becomes more common if no effective interventions and policy responses are in place,’ wrote Dr Zheng. 

‘Measures, such as increasing financial support, promoting social relationships, encouraging physical activities, and treating psychiatric and cardiovascular diseases, may well pay off in slowing or even preventing the potential increase in dementia in the decades to come 

Homophobic men who display traits of toxic masculinity are more likely to be bullies, study finds

Homophobic men who exhibit toxic masculinity traits are more likely to be bullies who are violent and carry out sexual harassment, a study has suggested.

Researchers from the US used data from 3,600 men and a new scale of harmful masculinities to explore how toxic masculinity can impact health and society.

The team found ‘macho’ men with aggressive and anti-LGBT attitudes to be not only more likely to be bullies — but also to experience depression and suicidal thoughts.

Homophobic men who exhibit toxic masculinity traits are more likely to be bullies who are violent and carry out sexual harassment, a study has suggested (stock image)

The so-called ‘Man Box Scale’ of harmful masculinities was developed by the gender equality consortium Promundo-US — and it covers such themes as acting tough, control, hyper-sexuality, physical attractiveness and rigid gender roles.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh used this 15-point scale in combination with data from more than 3,600 men, aged 18–30 and from across three different countries, that was gathered in 2016.

Participating men had been asked about their notions of masculinity, gender equality and their own mental health.

The team found that those men who scored higher on the Man Box scale were up to five times more likely to engage in online, physical or verbal bullying, as well as sexual harassment.

Furthermore, higher scores were seen to be associated with twice the risk of experiencing depression, or suicidal thoughts.

‘There has been a lot of discussion around harmful masculinities in the media and in the research community,’ said paper author and medical anthropologist Elizabeth Miller University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

However, she added, ‘no one has agreed on a standardised way to measure the concept.’

The ‘Man Box’ concept originated in the 1980s, when activist Paul Kivel and colleagues at the Oakland Men’s Project developed the ‘Act-Like-a-Man Box’ activity to help consider how society tells men they ought to react in various situations.

The exercise involved getting participants to think about how various traits — some of which are associated with ‘acting like a man’ and are visually grouped inside a box — impact and constrain their behaviour in a series of hypothetical scenarios.

Research has shown that boys and men — just like girls and women — are affected by societal norms around masculinity, experts said. Pictured, participants in the San Francisco Women's march last year holding a sign referencing toxic masculinity

Research has shown that boys and men — just like girls and women — are affected by societal norms around masculinity, experts said. Pictured, participants in the San Francisco Women’s march last year holding a sign referencing toxic masculinity

Recently, the issue of harmful masculinity got widespread attention in response to the 2018 American Psychological Association’s ‘Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men’

This report presented a series of steps that health care workers should take to improve the psychological care of boys and men.

The association was reacting to growing evidence that showed men who strongly align with more harmful masculine gender norms have poorer health outcomes — including around depression and suicidal thoughts.

In addition, these men perpetrate violence against others at much higher rates.

Research has shown that boys and men — just like girls and women — are affected by societal norms and that these can have real consequences, experts said.

‘These findings highlight how detrimental harmful masculinities can be to the people who endorse them, as well as their peers, families and communities at large,’ said paper author Amber Hill, also of the University of Pittsburgh.

‘It’s important to remember that individuals of all genders are influenced and impacted by the heteronormative society that we live in.’

To help clinicians better monitor their male patients’ attitudes, the researchers developed a shorter version of the survey, below, which includes only those items seen to have the strongest associations with violence and poor mental health.

THE NEW, SHORTENED VERSION OF THE ‘MAN BOX’ SURVEY

To help clinicians better monitor their male patients’ attitudes, researchers developed a shorter version of the survey, including only those items seen to have the strongest associations with violence and poor mental health.

The five statements in this survey that men are asked to express their level of agreement with are:

  1. A man shouldn’t have to do household chores.
  2. Men should use violence to get respect if necessary.
  3. A real man should have as many sexual partners as he can.
  4. A man who talks a lot about his worries, fears and problems shouldn’t really get respect.
  5. A gay guy is not a ‘real man’.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh

‘We have found a way to measure the concept of the “Man Box,”,’ said Gary Barker, president and CEO of Promundo-US.

This, he explained, ‘allows us to clearly see that when men embrace stereotypical ideas about manhood, they’re also more likely to harm the well-being of others, as well as impact their own health in adverse ways.’

‘We now have a valid tool in our pockets to help us measure progress toward changing harmful stereotypes and advancing both gender equality and healthier versions of masculinity.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

‘I was living in hell’: The harrowing torment of Will Young’s twin Rupert and the demons he battled

Born just ten minutes apart, singer Will Young and his twin Rupert were brothers who looked and sounded almost exactly the same.

But while Will was adored by millions two years after his Pop Idol success, Rupert was battling his own demons plunged so deep in depression he was homeless on the streets drinking with tramps.

His self-harming and alcoholism had become so serious he could not wear short sleeved tops without revealing his self-inflicted cuts and burns.

And in a serious of brave interviews he carried out about his mental health he admitted attempting to take his own life, laying bare his torment from mental health challenges.

His family believed he had turned the corner and had lived with them during lockdown in their Berkshire home, even offering elderly neighbours help to get groceries. 

It made his death this week – the cause of which has not been disclosed – all the more devastating. 

Rupert had said problems had started when he started drinking when he was just 14 after he and Will were sent to boarding school.

He was thought of as the ‘the bad one’ and struggled at £13,260-a-term Wellington College in Berkshire.

He and Will’s father is engineering company director Robin and they grew up in a wealthy area of Wokingham, Berkshire with mother Annabel and sister Emma.

Rupert and Will Young during a pedalo challenge organised by his Mood Foundation charity

Rupert’s self-harming had started when he was just 13 and carried on for a further ten years.

He said in 2008: ‘When Will and I were at boarding school my identity was ‘the bad one’. And that continued until I was 25.

‘I would wind up the teachers and I was told in return that I was not a good person. ‘As a child I believed that and I internalised it,’ he added to The Times.

As Will beat Gareth Gates on the first run of Pop Idol, Rupert was rushed to hospital after being found bleeding at the bottom of a flats stairwell.

He kept it secret from his family but it would be start of a descent into the most troubled spell of his all-too-short life.

Rupert said: ‘Pop Idol was a great diversion. I could watch William get through each round of the show on Saturday nights and have a party.

Rupert Young had battled his way back from depression after a childhood trauma at school

Rupert Young had battled his way back from depression after a childhood trauma at school

‘I was so proud, and I was constantly in a party mood. But while everyone else sobered up and went back to work, I carried on all week. And I’d turn up at his gigs drunk and behave like a child, which was really hard for him.’

Rupert had found the comparison with his brother difficult, admitting at school teachers had used him as measuring stick against his own behaviour.

He said: ‘At boarding school I was always being compared to my brother. Looking back, my teachers could have been a bit more positive. I got into a situation where an older teacher used to regularly beat me up.

‘I was living on the streets two years after Will had won Pop Idol, drinking with tramps.

‘I was living in hell. My life, in my mind, was not worth living,’ he told BBC Berkshire.

His twin brother, their parents Robin and Annabel had attempted to practice tough love with him to try and help him help himself out of his despair.

Rupert Young was cleared of assault at magistrates court and turned his life around

Rupert Young was cleared of assault at magistrates court and turned his life around

And the difference between the two brothers was laid bare as they glimpsed one another as Will chanced upon him driving on his way to an awards ceremony.

As he passed the train station he saw Rupert there, clear that he had been drinking all day.

Will said: ‘I knew I had to leave him alone. That was tough, of course it was, but you have to get on. And in that respect being so involved in work was a great thing.’

‘It’s very tough having a family member who is an addict. But when you’re dealing with that you eventually have to just stop and look after yourself. Me, my parents, my older sister, everyone. We all just had to walk away. We had to leave him.’

In 2004 Rupert found himself before a judge at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court, accused of assaulting a chef in London’s West End.

He revealed his well-known brother had led to him being attacked over his fame.

Rupert told the jury: ‘At times I have been called gay and shouted at by builders.

‘In fact, myself and Will were attacked in a club once.

‘We as a family all try and stay positive.

‘But there are times when members of the general public seem to act in a strange way around him or myself.’

At times I have been called gay and shouted at by builders,’ he told Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.

‘In fact, myself and Will were attacked in a club once.’

He was cleared off any wrongdoing but it appeared to be the catalyst for a change in his outlook on life.

He estimated his parents had spent some £120,000 on trying to help him get better and he even had been sectioned at one point.

In summer of 2005 he went to the Sierra Tucson treatment centre in the Arizona desert where it was discovered his experience at school had caused his depression.

He was diagnosed with dysthymia, the name if a type of depression that is caused by a trauma.

Finding out what had made him feel so desperate spurred him on to help others.

He set up the Mood Foundation charity to help people over 18 find help if they needed it, without the costs of treatment.

Rupert also conducted a series of interviews about his mental health battles in an attempt to help others.

It had seemed he had finally managed to keep his demons at bay after a troubled start to his life.

Last year a snap posted his social media page showed him with all of his family smiling happily.

And in the weeks leading up to his death he had offered to help neighbours at his parents’ home during lockdown. 

Local Peter Cox, 78, told MailOnline: ‘He with his family for a long time, I’ve only been here three years and they had been here a lot longer than that.

‘We say hello if we meet each other in the street, Rupert was a nice friendly chap. When Covid started he said he would help out if I needed it with my shopping and everything but fortunately I could do it myself.’ 

A family friend told The Sun yesterday: ‘Will’s relationship with Rupert had been tough over the years at times, and they had both spoken about the mental health problems which had made it challenging.

‘But there were hopes he had turned a corner and they are a very loving family – and utterly devastated by his passing.’

And the final public picture of the two brothers was posted by Will himself on his Instagram page, showing them fooling around listening to music.

One associate who had met both twins said he would be in agony after his death.

They said: ‘Rupert fought his demons, Will must be in hell right now.’

‘I was living in hell’: The harrowing torment of Will Young’s twin Rupert and the demons he battled

Born just ten minutes apart, singer Will Young and his twin Rupert were brothers who looked and sounded almost exactly the same.

But while Will was adored by millions two years after his Pop Idol success, Rupert was battling his own demons plunged so deep in depression he was homeless on the streets drinking with tramps.

His self-harming and alcoholism had become so serious he could not wear short sleeved tops without revealing his self-inflicted cuts and burns.

And in a serious of brave interviews he carried out about his mental health he admitted attempting to take his own life, laying bare his torment from mental health challenges.

His family believed he had turned the corner and had lived with them during lockdown in their Berkshire home, even offering elderly neighbours help to get groceries.

It made his death this week – the cause of which has not been disclosed – all the more devastating. 

Rupert had said problems had started when he started drinking when he was just 14 after he and Will were sent to boarding school.

He was thought of as the ‘the bad one’ and struggled at £13,260-a-term Wellington College in Berkshire.

Rupert and Will Young during a pedalo challenge organised by his Mood Foundation charity

Rupert’s self-harming had started when he was just 13 and carried on for a further ten years.

He said in 2008: ‘When Will and I were at boarding school my identity was ‘the bad one’. And that continued until I was 25.

‘I would wind up the teachers and I was told in return that I was not a good person. ‘As a child I believed that and I internalised it,’ he added to The Times.

As Will beat Gareth Gates on the first run of Pop Idol, Rupert was rushed to hospital after being found bleeding at the bottom of a flats stairwell.

He kept it secret from his family but it would be start of a descent into the most troubled spell of his all-too-short life.

Rupert said: ‘Pop Idol was a great diversion. I could watch William get through each round of the show on Saturday nights and have a party.

Rupert Young had battled his way back from depression after a childhood trauma at school

Rupert Young had battled his way back from depression after a childhood trauma at school

‘I was so proud, and I was constantly in a party mood. But while everyone else sobered up and went back to work, I carried on all week. And I’d turn up at his gigs drunk and behave like a child, which was really hard for him.’

Rupert had found the comparison with his brother difficult, admitting at school teachers had used him as measuring stick against his own behaviour.

He said: ‘At boarding school I was always being compared to my brother. Looking back, my teachers could have been a bit more positive. I got into a situation where an older teacher used to regularly beat me up.

‘I was living on the streets two years after Will had won Pop Idol, drinking with tramps.

‘I was living in hell. My life, in my mind, was not worth living,’ he told BBC Berkshire.

His twin brother, their parents Robin and Annabel had attempted to practice tough love with him to try and help him help himself out of his despair.

Rupert Young was cleared of assault at magistrates court and turned his life around

Rupert Young was cleared of assault at magistrates court and turned his life around

And the difference between the two brothers was laid bare as they glimpsed one another as Will chanced upon him driving on his way to an awards ceremony.

As he passed the train station he saw Rupert there, clear that he had been drinking all day.

Will said: ‘I knew I had to leave him alone. That was tough, of course it was, but you have to get on. And in that respect being so involved in work was a great thing.’

‘It’s very tough having a family member who is an addict. But when you’re dealing with that you eventually have to just stop and look after yourself. Me, my parents, my older sister, everyone. We all just had to walk away. We had to leave him.’

In 2004 Rupert found himself before a judge at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court, accused of assaulting a chef in London’s West End.

He revealed his well-known brother had led to him being attacked over his fame.

Rupert told the jury: ‘At times I have been called gay and shouted at by builders.

‘In fact, myself and Will were attacked in a club once.

‘We as a family all try and stay positive.

‘But there are times when members of the general public seem to act in a strange way around him or myself.’

At times I have been called gay and shouted at by builders,’ he told Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.

‘In fact, myself and Will were attacked in a club once.’

He was cleared off any wrongdoing but it appeared to be the catalyst for a change in his outlook on life.

He estimated his parents had spent some £120,000 on trying to help him get better and he even had been sectioned at one point.

In summer of 2005 he went to the Sierra Tucson treatment centre in the Arizona desert where it was discovered his experience at school had caused his depression.

He was diagnosed with dysthymia, the name if a type of depression that is caused by a trauma.

Finding out what had made him feel so desperate spurred him on to help others.

He set up the Mood Foundation charity to help people over 18 find help if they needed it, without the costs of treatment.

Rupert also conducted a series of interviews about his mental health battles in an attempt to help others.

It had seemed he had finally managed to keep his demons at bay after a troubled start to his life.

Last year a snap posted his social media page showed him with all of his family smiling happily.

And in the weeks leading up to his death he had offered to help neighbours at his parents’ home during lockdown. 

Local Peter Cox, 78, told MailOnline: ‘He with his family for a long time, I’ve only been here three years and they had been here a lot longer than that.

‘We say hello if we meet each other in the street, Rupert was a nice friendly chap. When Covid started he said he would help out if I needed it with my shopping and everything but fortunately I could do it myself.’ 

A family friend told The Sun yesterday: ‘Will’s relationship with Rupert had been tough over the years at times, and they had both spoken about the mental health problems which had made it challenging.

‘But there were hopes he had turned a corner and they are a very loving family – and utterly devastated by his passing.’

And the final public picture of the two brothers was posted by Will himself on his Instagram page, showing them fooling around listening to music.

One associate who had met both twins said he would be in agony after his death.

They said: ‘Rupert fought his demons, Will must be in hell right now.’

Large study debunks myth that Vitamin D reduces risk of mood disorders 

Vitamin D will not protect you from depression: Large study debunks myth that the ‘sunshine supplement’ reduces the risk of mood disorders

  • Previous studies have linked low blood levels of vitamin D with higher risk for depression in middle-age and old age
  • Researchers gave half of a group of 18,000 men and women vitamin D3 pills over five years and the other half a placebo
  • Adults taking the supplements did not have more depressive symptoms or different mood scores than those give the placebo

For years, Americans have been prescribed vitamin D, with doctors claiming the nutrient will protect against depression.

But a new study of more than 18,000 adults shows that the supplement does not reduce the risk of developing mood disorders. 

Researchers found men and women taking vitamin D3 tablets did not have fewer depressive symptoms than those given a placebo. 

The team, from Massachusetts General Hospital, says the findings suggest that it may be time to cast doubt on other presumed benefits of the vitamin.

A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital has found that adults taking vitamin D3 supplements did not have fewer depressive symptoms than those taking a placebo (file image)

Vitamin D is sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because the skin naturally creates it when exposed to sunlight.

It is found in foods such as milk, cheese, egg yolks, tuna and salmon, although often in low amounts, which is why supplements are sometimes needed.

Previous research has associated low blood levels of vitamin D with higher risk for depression, a serious mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and affects the ability to go about daily activities, in middle-age or old age.

Symptoms of depression, coupled with poor mental health, has been linked to premature deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide.

While treatment methods have significantly advanced – with new drugs and therapies available – many mental health experts say prevention and early intervention are key.  

For the study, published in JAMA, the team set up the VITAL-DEP (Depression Endpoint Prevention in the Vitamin D and Omega-3) trial.

More than 18,300 men and women aged 50 or older with no history or indication of clinical depression were examined.

Half the participants received vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements for five years and the other half received a placebo over the same duration.

At the end of the study period, the group taking vitamins did not have fewer depressive symptoms that those taking the placebo.

There were also no significant differences in mood scores between the two groups over the course of five years.  

‘There was no significant benefit from the supplement for this purpose. It did not prevent depression or improve mood,’ said lead author Dr Olivia Okereke, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital.  

‘It’s not time to throw out your vitamin D yet though, at least not without your doctor’s advice.’

The team added that people taking supplements for bone and metabolic health should continue to do so. 

Nominate a health hero: Meet the mental health nurse battling her own demons

Do you know a Health Hero? The Daily Mail, in partnership with eBay and NHS Charities Together, wants you to nominate special people in the healthcare sector who have made a difference to your life, or to a loved one’s life. 

The winner of the award will receive a £5,000 holiday. To make a nomination, fill in the form below. 

Here, Jo Waters tells the story of a nominee who goes the extra mile for mental health patients…

Hayley McLellan is well known for being able to fix things. Last week, she repaired a patient’s washing machine by unblocking the filter, and helped another patient’s child with their homework to take the pressure off the parent, who suffers from depression.

And she’s not only a fixer: Hayley has also walked dogs, cleaned houses and cooked meals for patients too unwell to do these things for themselves. She’s even given up her own time to help patients move home — literally packing and shifting the boxes.

More recently, at the start of the pandemic, the 39-year-old stocked up on loo rolls to hand out to patients, delivered food parcels and collected prescriptions for people who were shielding. 

She loves baking and made home deliveries of her famous cheese and onion pies to vulnerable patients living on their own.

Even at Christmas time, she’ll make five or six extra dinners to drop round to those who she knows will be alone, as well as giving them a small gift because they won’t receive any others.

Recently, Hayley accompanied another patient to several medical appointments for cancer investigations. ‘The patient would only go if Hayley went with her,’ says Hayley’s manager, Jennifer Mack. So touched were the woman’s family, they contacted the local mayor to express their gratitude

And if she doesn’t quite walk on water, Hayley certainly isn’t one to let mere ice or snow get in the way of her work. She’s been known to drive out to a patient’s home and, finding the road impassable, put on her wellies and walk to their house to deliver essential prescriptions and food supplies.

At the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, where she’s worked for ten years as a mental health nurse, her dedication is legendary.

Hayley’s official role involves managing a team of community mental health nurses, co-ordinating the care of 500 patients who have severe and prolonged mental illnesses, arranging home visits and clinic appointments as well as directly supporting patients herself.

But she does so much more than focus on mental wellbeing, as one of her patients, Amanda O’Boyle, who has nominated Hayley for the Daily Mail Health Hero Awards, explains: ‘She is always going out of her way to help others. She’s even picked me up before she started work to take me for procedures that I’ve needed.’

Recently, Hayley accompanied another patient to several medical appointments for cancer investigations.

‘The patient would only go if Hayley went with her,’ says Hayley’s manager, Jennifer Mack.

So touched were the woman’s family, they contacted the local mayor to express their gratitude.

‘She is incredible, always looking after everyone,’ says Jennifer. ‘She is very compassionate towards her patients and will often keep in contact with them for supportive chats long after they have finished being cared for in hospital.

‘One gentleman calls her every Friday afternoon, even though he’s no longer a patient, and she always makes time for him.

‘She looks after the staff, too, buying flowers and chocolates for her team to show her appreciation for their hard work — she treats them all like family.

‘She has a very loud laugh and manages to boost everyone’s spirits, which has been particularly important during the pandemic, when we’ve all been under such pressure.’

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire.

Her commitment to her job is prodigious. She often stays late to get through mountains of paperwork, and frequently spends her days off dealing with emails and phone calls to keep on top of everything.

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire

By way of explanation, Hayley says: ‘It’s not a clock-in, clock-out sort of job.’ As for all the extra help she offers patients: ‘I’ll do anything to keep their spirits up. If I can do something small to brighten someone’s day, I will.’

Such kindness has particular significance in what is arguably one of the most challenging sectors of the health service.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard for everyone, but particularly so for people with severe mental health problems, she explains.

‘Perhaps the biggest issues have been the loneliness and the isolation,’ says Hayley.

‘People haven’t been able to attend their usual support groups or see family, so they can feel very alone — and that risks making their existing conditions worse.

‘In order to avoid this, I have been popping round to check on people all the time [wearing protective personal equipment].

‘You can’t leave depressed and suicidal people on their own for weeks on end — they need human contact.

‘In some cases, I’ve just said: “Come on, you need to get out for a walk,” and accompanied them for a stroll in the fresh air if they’ve been stuck indoors alone. That can make a real difference.’

And there are more and more people who need this kind of help. 

Why there’s no such thing as time off for transplant medic

By Lucy Elkins for the Daily Mail

Dr Jacob Simmonds sighs as he reads a card sent from a patient to mark the ten-year anniversary of her heart transplant.

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years

‘She uses the word “lucky”, yet she developed heart failure as a result of leukaemia — not what most of us would call lucky,’ he says. ‘But it’s being able to help children like her that makes me so thankful to be in this job.’

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years. 

It’s not hard to see why, given his extraordinary dedication to caring for seriously ill children, from newborns to teenagers.

For Dr Simmonds, 12-hour days are standard, and he often interrupts family holidays with wife Emma, 42, a lawyer, and their children, aged nine and 11, to check on his young patients. 

Even when he’s not meant to be working, Dr Simmonds can often be found on the wards, checking on children.

Typically his patients have cardiomyopathy — disease of the heart muscle — leading to heart failure, and the most severely affected eventually require a heart transplant.

‘The best part of my job is when a suitable donor organ is found,’ he says. Tragically, there are other children on the transplant waiting list who die. 

Determined to improve the outcome for these children, Dr Simmonds spends his evenings and weekends researching, collaborating with the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge on a children’s version of ‘heart in a box’ technology.

This is where a donor heart has oxygenated blood pumped through it (rather than being kept cool), which increases the time that the organ can spend out of the body and means more hearts are available for transplant.

On average, children wait 250 days for a donor heart at GOSH, but it can be three or four years.

So far, since introducing the new technology this year, Dr Simmonds’ unit has done five transplants.

Anna Hadley, 15, who’d been on the waiting list for a donor heart for 20 months, was the first patient to benefit. Her father, Andrew, who is 49 and works in sales, cannot contain his gratitude. ‘Anna owes Jacob her life,’ he says.

In February 2018, the family’s care was transferred from their local hospital in Worcester to GOSH, as one of only two centres in the country that deal with paediatric heart failure.

The moment Anna met Dr Simmonds, she felt hope. ‘He makes things seem like everything is going to be all right,’ she says. The Hadley family, who have nominated Dr Simmonds for a Health Hero award, say he made not only Anna, but all of them feel cared for.

‘When we were at home waiting for the donor, he would ring to check on Anna and see how we were coping,’ says Andrew. ‘If the family called the transplant nurses with a question, often it would be Jacob who would call back.’

And as Anna waited outside the operating theatre earlier this year, Dr Simmonds was at her side.

‘He came in every one of the 15 days she spent in hospital afterwards to check on her, even though he wasn’t working every day.’

Even now, he ‘phones all the time to check on how Anna is’.

Dr Simmonds, who stays in touch with many former patients, isn’t only on hand for families, but for colleagues, too.

One of his roles is to mentor junior doctors, and he always gives them his mobile phone number to use, whether he’s on call or not, rather than leaving them to worry about making a decision.

Dr Craig Laurence, a heart failure and transplant fellow at GOSH who has worked with Dr Simmonds for a year, says: ‘There aren’t many other consultants who would make that clear an offer.

‘If that wasn’t enough, Jacob does sponsored walks to fundraise for equipment — as well as authoring more than 30 medical papers.’

His research work is making a big difference. Dr Laurence says the heart in a box adaptation ‘could increase the number of transplants we do by 30 per cent — it will be a game-changer’.

Dr Simmonds says he had dreamed of working at GOSH after seeing a TV programme about the hospital as a child. 

‘I was eight when I said I’d like to work at Great Ormond Street, which is quite a dream for a young boy,’ he laughs. 

As Hayley says: ‘We’re getting lots of new clients who are experiencing mental illness for the first time — they’ve lost their jobs, have money worries, their children are out of school or they have been bereaved. There are so many people suffering from anxiety and depression. Our team has had to work longer hours and we’ve all gone the extra mile.’

Hayley comes from a family of NHS workers — her grandmother and several aunts and uncles were all nurses, and her mother was an NHS support worker. She says she never considered any other career.

‘I can’t imagine ever not being an NHS nurse — it’s been my life since leaving college and I can’t think of anything better,’ she says. ‘I just love looking after people.’

She decided on mental health nursing from the start.

‘One of my aunts was a mental health nurse, so I heard a lot about it from her and thought it was an area where I could really help. Some people want to patch up broken bones, but for me it was always about supporting people with mental health issues.

‘To begin with, I saw it as a way of working with people who had drug and alcohol problems, as I’ve seen the impact this can have on families. When I started training, I really enjoyed it and felt I had empathy with the patients.’

More recently, that instinctive empathy has been informed by her own personal experiences. A couple of years ago, Hayley herself developed severe anxiety.

‘Like a lot of people, I had no obvious trigger for my anxiety — it just came out of nowhere,’ she says. ‘I was in a really dark place. I couldn’t leave the house and was off work for three months.

‘I’m usually a very positive, bubbly, upbeat person, always laughing, so it shows anxiety and depression can happen to anyone. Luckily it passed, and I learnt how to deal with my anxiety by taking long walks every morning before work. I walk for two hours with my husband and my dog — it’s very calming.

‘But that experience has given me a greater understanding of what some of my patients are going through. I make no secret of the fact that I had problems myself, I think it helps, as patients see it’s possible to move forward.

‘For me, there is nothing more rewarding than to see patients get better and for the families to say: “He’s a different man now, thank you.” That’s why I do this job.’

As for the cooking, the cleaning and the washing machine repairs, she says simply: ‘I just regard it as part of the role. If you’re a nurse, I believe you should help people in any way you can and make them feel looked after.’

Nominate a health hero: Meet the mental health nurse battling her own demons

Do you know a Health Hero? The Daily Mail, in partnership with eBay and NHS Charities Together, wants you to nominate special people in the healthcare sector who have made a difference to your life, or to a loved one’s life. 

The winner of the award will receive a £5,000 holiday. To make a nomination, fill in the form below. 

Here, Jo Waters tells the story of a nominee who goes the extra mile for mental health patients…

Hayley McLellan is well known for being able to fix things. Last week, she repaired a patient’s washing machine by unblocking the filter, and helped another patient’s child with their homework to take the pressure off the parent, who suffers from depression.

And she’s not only a fixer: Hayley has also walked dogs, cleaned houses and cooked meals for patients too unwell to do these things for themselves. She’s even given up her own time to help patients move home — literally packing and shifting the boxes.

More recently, at the start of the pandemic, the 39-year-old stocked up on loo rolls to hand out to patients, delivered food parcels and collected prescriptions for people who were shielding. 

She loves baking and made home deliveries of her famous cheese and onion pies to vulnerable patients living on their own.

Even at Christmas time, she’ll make five or six extra dinners to drop round to those who she knows will be alone, as well as giving them a small gift because they won’t receive any others.

Recently, Hayley accompanied another patient to several medical appointments for cancer investigations. ‘The patient would only go if Hayley went with her,’ says Hayley’s manager, Jennifer Mack. So touched were the woman’s family, they contacted the local mayor to express their gratitude

And if she doesn’t quite walk on water, Hayley certainly isn’t one to let mere ice or snow get in the way of her work. She’s been known to drive out to a patient’s home and, finding the road impassable, put on her wellies and walk to their house to deliver essential prescriptions and food supplies.

At the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, where she’s worked for ten years as a mental health nurse, her dedication is legendary.

Hayley’s official role involves managing a team of community mental health nurses, co-ordinating the care of 500 patients who have severe and prolonged mental illnesses, arranging home visits and clinic appointments as well as directly supporting patients herself.

But she does so much more than focus on mental wellbeing, as one of her patients, Amanda O’Boyle, who has nominated Hayley for the Daily Mail Health Hero Awards, explains: ‘She is always going out of her way to help others. She’s even picked me up before she started work to take me for procedures that I’ve needed.’

Recently, Hayley accompanied another patient to several medical appointments for cancer investigations.

‘The patient would only go if Hayley went with her,’ says Hayley’s manager, Jennifer Mack.

So touched were the woman’s family, they contacted the local mayor to express their gratitude.

‘She is incredible, always looking after everyone,’ says Jennifer. ‘She is very compassionate towards her patients and will often keep in contact with them for supportive chats long after they have finished being cared for in hospital.

‘One gentleman calls her every Friday afternoon, even though he’s no longer a patient, and she always makes time for him.

‘She looks after the staff, too, buying flowers and chocolates for her team to show her appreciation for their hard work — she treats them all like family.

‘She has a very loud laugh and manages to boost everyone’s spirits, which has been particularly important during the pandemic, when we’ve all been under such pressure.’

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire.

Her commitment to her job is prodigious. She often stays late to get through mountains of paperwork, and frequently spends her days off dealing with emails and phone calls to keep on top of everything.

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire

Nothing is ever too much trouble for Hayley, who lives with husband Scott, 43, an IT technician, and their children Caitlan, 21, Casey, 19, and Kenzie, 12, in Bacup, Lancashire

By way of explanation, Hayley says: ‘It’s not a clock-in, clock-out sort of job.’ As for all the extra help she offers patients: ‘I’ll do anything to keep their spirits up. If I can do something small to brighten someone’s day, I will.’

Such kindness has particular significance in what is arguably one of the most challenging sectors of the health service.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard for everyone, but particularly so for people with severe mental health problems, she explains.

‘Perhaps the biggest issues have been the loneliness and the isolation,’ says Hayley.

‘People haven’t been able to attend their usual support groups or see family, so they can feel very alone — and that risks making their existing conditions worse.

‘In order to avoid this, I have been popping round to check on people all the time [wearing protective personal equipment].

‘You can’t leave depressed and suicidal people on their own for weeks on end — they need human contact.

‘In some cases, I’ve just said: “Come on, you need to get out for a walk,” and accompanied them for a stroll in the fresh air if they’ve been stuck indoors alone. That can make a real difference.’

And there are more and more people who need this kind of help. 

Why there’s no such thing as time off for transplant medic

By Lucy Elkins for the Daily Mail

Dr Jacob Simmonds sighs as he reads a card sent from a patient to mark the ten-year anniversary of her heart transplant.

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years

‘She uses the word “lucky”, yet she developed heart failure as a result of leukaemia — not what most of us would call lucky,’ he says. ‘But it’s being able to help children like her that makes me so thankful to be in this job.’

Dr Simmonds, 44, a consultant cardiologist and transplant physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, has received many similar cards over the years. 

It’s not hard to see why, given his extraordinary dedication to caring for seriously ill children, from newborns to teenagers.

For Dr Simmonds, 12-hour days are standard, and he often interrupts family holidays with wife Emma, 42, a lawyer, and their children, aged nine and 11, to check on his young patients. 

Even when he’s not meant to be working, Dr Simmonds can often be found on the wards, checking on children.

Typically his patients have cardiomyopathy — disease of the heart muscle — leading to heart failure, and the most severely affected eventually require a heart transplant.

‘The best part of my job is when a suitable donor organ is found,’ he says. Tragically, there are other children on the transplant waiting list who die. 

Determined to improve the outcome for these children, Dr Simmonds spends his evenings and weekends researching, collaborating with the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge on a children’s version of ‘heart in a box’ technology.

This is where a donor heart has oxygenated blood pumped through it (rather than being kept cool), which increases the time that the organ can spend out of the body and means more hearts are available for transplant.

On average, children wait 250 days for a donor heart at GOSH, but it can be three or four years.

So far, since introducing the new technology this year, Dr Simmonds’ unit has done five transplants.

Anna Hadley, 15, who’d been on the waiting list for a donor heart for 20 months, was the first patient to benefit. Her father, Andrew, who is 49 and works in sales, cannot contain his gratitude. ‘Anna owes Jacob her life,’ he says.

In February 2018, the family’s care was transferred from their local hospital in Worcester to GOSH, as one of only two centres in the country that deal with paediatric heart failure.

The moment Anna met Dr Simmonds, she felt hope. ‘He makes things seem like everything is going to be all right,’ she says. The Hadley family, who have nominated Dr Simmonds for a Health Hero award, say he made not only Anna, but all of them feel cared for.

‘When we were at home waiting for the donor, he would ring to check on Anna and see how we were coping,’ says Andrew. ‘If the family called the transplant nurses with a question, often it would be Jacob who would call back.’

And as Anna waited outside the operating theatre earlier this year, Dr Simmonds was at her side.

‘He came in every one of the 15 days she spent in hospital afterwards to check on her, even though he wasn’t working every day.’

Even now, he ‘phones all the time to check on how Anna is’.

Dr Simmonds, who stays in touch with many former patients, isn’t only on hand for families, but for colleagues, too.

One of his roles is to mentor junior doctors, and he always gives them his mobile phone number to use, whether he’s on call or not, rather than leaving them to worry about making a decision.

Dr Craig Laurence, a heart failure and transplant fellow at GOSH who has worked with Dr Simmonds for a year, says: ‘There aren’t many other consultants who would make that clear an offer.

‘If that wasn’t enough, Jacob does sponsored walks to fundraise for equipment — as well as authoring more than 30 medical papers.’

His research work is making a big difference. Dr Laurence says the heart in a box adaptation ‘could increase the number of transplants we do by 30 per cent — it will be a game-changer’.

Dr Simmonds says he had dreamed of working at GOSH after seeing a TV programme about the hospital as a child. 

‘I was eight when I said I’d like to work at Great Ormond Street, which is quite a dream for a young boy,’ he laughs. 

As Hayley says: ‘We’re getting lots of new clients who are experiencing mental illness for the first time — they’ve lost their jobs, have money worries, their children are out of school or they have been bereaved. There are so many people suffering from anxiety and depression. Our team has had to work longer hours and we’ve all gone the extra mile.’

Hayley comes from a family of NHS workers — her grandmother and several aunts and uncles were all nurses, and her mother was an NHS support worker. She says she never considered any other career.

‘I can’t imagine ever not being an NHS nurse — it’s been my life since leaving college and I can’t think of anything better,’ she says. ‘I just love looking after people.’

She decided on mental health nursing from the start.

‘One of my aunts was a mental health nurse, so I heard a lot about it from her and thought it was an area where I could really help. Some people want to patch up broken bones, but for me it was always about supporting people with mental health issues.

‘To begin with, I saw it as a way of working with people who had drug and alcohol problems, as I’ve seen the impact this can have on families. When I started training, I really enjoyed it and felt I had empathy with the patients.’

More recently, that instinctive empathy has been informed by her own personal experiences. A couple of years ago, Hayley herself developed severe anxiety.

‘Like a lot of people, I had no obvious trigger for my anxiety — it just came out of nowhere,’ she says. ‘I was in a really dark place. I couldn’t leave the house and was off work for three months.

‘I’m usually a very positive, bubbly, upbeat person, always laughing, so it shows anxiety and depression can happen to anyone. Luckily it passed, and I learnt how to deal with my anxiety by taking long walks every morning before work. I walk for two hours with my husband and my dog — it’s very calming.

‘But that experience has given me a greater understanding of what some of my patients are going through. I make no secret of the fact that I had problems myself, I think it helps, as patients see it’s possible to move forward.

‘For me, there is nothing more rewarding than to see patients get better and for the families to say: “He’s a different man now, thank you.” That’s why I do this job.’

As for the cooking, the cleaning and the washing machine repairs, she says simply: ‘I just regard it as part of the role. If you’re a nurse, I believe you should help people in any way you can and make them feel looked after.’

Nadia Essex battles ‘a touch of post-natal depression’

‘I just couldn’t stop crying’: Nadia Essex reveals she’s battled ‘a touch of post-natal depression’ after an emotionally ‘tough’ week

Nadia Essex has revealed she’s battled ‘a touch of post-natal depression’ after an emotionally ‘tough’ week of parenting her baby son Ezekiel, five months.

The former Celebs Go Dating star, 38, explained on Monday that she has been quieter on Instagram of late because ‘there has been a lot weighing on my mind’.     

The single mother-of-one told how she ‘couldn’t stop crying’ as she opened up on her mental health on her podcast, The Clueless Mum.

Honest: Nadia Essex has revealed she’s battled ‘a touch of post-natal depression’ after an emotionally ‘tough’ week of parenting her baby son Ezekiel, five months

Nadia, who suffers with ’bouts of depression and anxiety’, explained that she had a break from social media after a ‘tough’ few days. 

The TV personality said she had her first period in more than three years following pregnancy and the contraceptive pill, which she described as ‘extremely emotional’. 

Speaking on the podcast, titled, ‘Periods, PND and & Trip To The Paediatrician’, Nadia revealed that she came off anti-depressants, which ‘worked wonderfully well’ for her, when she found out she was pregnant. 

She said: ‘I am having to try and learn to live with and manage I was on anti-depressants. 

Single mother: The former Celebs Go Dating star, 38, explained on Monday that she has been quieter on Instagram of late because 'there has been a lot weighing on my mind'

Single mother: The former Celebs Go Dating star, 38, explained on Monday that she has been quieter on Instagram of late because ‘there has been a lot weighing on my mind’

‘I am no longer on any medication and so therefore you are all up in your feelings because I actually really loved my anti-depressants they worked wonderfully well for me – they really helped my mental health get stronger.    

‘But then when I was pregnant I wanted to come off and I did and so obviously, you know, it becomes, I don’t know, the voice in your head that is telling you that you are a s***** person just gets a bit louder.

‘And the more tired you are, and the more fatigued you are, the louder the voice becomes and the less mental strength you have to tell her to, “shut the f**k up”, basically. 

She continued: ‘And so it becomes this constant voice in your head of self-doubt and worry and anxiety and depression.’ 

Speaking about re-starting her period, she said: ‘It was tough, it was so heavy and extremely emotional and the day before I was crying over all sorts of stuff. ‘ 

Nadia also explained how she is going through the four-month sleep regression with Ezekiel and revealed that she has not slept more than a ‘four-hour chunk’ in 12 months. 

She explained: ‘His sleep pattern is now becoming more like an adult but it is very very difficult because we just have no sleep and so I am extremely tired.’ 

Nadia also revealed that she has just 10 days before she has to move out of her flat after she still hasn’t found anywhere that is ‘quite right’. 

Emotional: The single mother-of-one told how she 'couldn't stop crying' as she opened up on her mental health on her podcast, The Clueless Mum

Emotional: The single mother-of-one told how she ‘couldn’t stop crying’ as she opened up on her mental health on her podcast, The Clueless Mum

She said: ‘It has just been one of those weeks where there has been a lot weighing on my mind. 

‘There was a couple of days where I just couldn’t stop crying and I had finished my period so it wasn’t that and I think I had a touch of post-natal depression because I just felt down in the dumps. 

‘Luckily it seems to have kind of naturally passed I am feeling the last couple of days a lot brighter.’   

Nadia, who had been given a one per cent chance of conceiving naturally, announced the birth of her baby on Instagram in March, sharing a picture of herself kissing his little hand. 

She had written: ‘He is here and he is perfect.’ 

'He is perfect': Nadia revealed she has given birth to her first child with this beautiful picture back in March

‘He is perfect’: Nadia revealed she has given birth to her first child with this beautiful picture back in March 

Jack Canfield’s five steps you need to follow to make money from an online business during COVID-19

A multi-millionaire bestselling author who runs self-help seminars online has described the coronavirus pandemic as a business opportunity rather than something to fear.

New lockdowns in Melbourne and outbreaks in Sydney are intensifying fears about Australia suffering from the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s Great Depression. 

Jack Canfield, the bestselling American co-author of Chicken Soup For The Soul and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, said the COVID-19 crisis had also affected his business model of hosting sold-out seminars in packed auditoriums.

The man with 1.1million Facebook followers has given Daily Mail Australia his five secrets on how to achieve financial success during the COVID-19 era. 

A multi-millionaire bestselling author who runs self-help seminars online has described the coronavirus pandemic as a business opportunity rather than something to fear. Jack Canfield is pictured with his wife Inga 

Pivot during a crisis 

In March, the 75-year-old motivational speaker faced a financial crisis when local governments in California banned large gatherings and imposed new travel restrictions, putting at risk $US800,000 ($A1.1million) he had collected in deposits for a motivational talk he was about to deliver.

‘I’m in a company where I do live training primarily and all of a sudden in the middle of March, they said, “No live training, you can’t put more than two people in a ballroom and you can’t travel”,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Instead of immediately returning that money, he offered the customers the chance to instead watch his seminar online, charging them $US900 ($A1,243) for four months worth of tutorials as an alternative to one major live stage speech.

‘It took a lot of work – we pivoted quickly,’ he said. 

Identify a need during this pandemic

Canfield said the COVID-19 lockdowns were an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to identify new customer needs.

‘Every crisis has new needs that need to be met,’ he said.

In his home city of Santa Barbara in California, high school student Daniel Goldberg saw an opportunity to deliver groceries to the elderly people self isolating at home.

With other teenagers he established Zoomers to Boomers.  

‘We’ve got kids literally that went online and created a whole new business,’ Canfield said. 

Jack Canfield, the bestselling American co-author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Secret and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be , said the COVID-19 crisis had also affected his business model of hosting sold-out seminars in packed auditoriums

Jack Canfield, the bestselling American co-author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Secret and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be , said the COVID-19 crisis had also affected his business model of hosting sold-out seminars in packed auditoriums

‘All these baby boomers, who are now in their seventies, who are afraid to leave their homes because of the COVID, these kids are going out and picking up their groceries for them, and then charging them a fee for doing it.

‘A whole new business has been developed.’

From making food and selling it online to starting a home-based direct sales business or making podcasts to entertain people at home, Canfield said home isolation was a business opportunity. 

‘There’s a lot of opportunity for the things that are needed,’ he said.

‘You just have to decide, what am I needing?’

Canfield said the COVID-19 lockdowns were an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to identify new customer needs. In his home city of Santa Barbara in California, teenagers founded Zoomers to Boomers

Canfield said the COVID-19 lockdowns were an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to identify new customer needs. In his home city of Santa Barbara in California, teenagers founded Zoomers to Boomers

He advised budding entrepreneurs to think about the needs of those who were struggling with home isolation. 

High school student Daniel Goldberg saw an opportunity to deliver groceries to elderly people self isolating at home

High school student Daniel Goldberg saw an opportunity to deliver groceries to elderly people self isolating at home

‘People are bored so what can you do to provide more entertainment?,’ he said. 

‘A lot of people are lonely. Literally, just talk to people, coach people. Bring people into mastermind groups, things like that online.’

Stay psychologically strong

Canfield said too many people became so fearful they imagined the worst possible thing that could happen to them during this pandemic – if they didn’t catch COVID-19.

‘Psychologically, dealing with fear – fear is created by imagining the future being bad,’ he said. ‘The point is worrying is just negative goal setting.’

He said a crisis like COVID-19, the worst global pandemic in 100 years, had activated the part of the brain focused on negativity. 

Unemployment during June amid COVID-19

Australia’s unemployment rate climbed from a 19-year high of 7.1 per cent in May to 7.4 per cent in June – the highest since November 1998

Number without work climbed from 923,000 to a record-high 992,300

Close to a million people unemployed for the first time ever – surpassing 960,200 record set in December 1992

Unemployment increased even though 210,800 more people were employed as COVID-19 shutdowns eased

That was because the participation rate increased from 62.7 per cent to 64 per cent as more people looked for work

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for June 

‘What happened when the pandemic hit: everyone went into fear,’ he said. 

‘When you go into fear, the energy in your brain goes from the prefrontal cortex – which is rational thinking, creative thinking, intuitive insights – and it goes back into the amygdala – the back part of the brain which basically hijacks the front part of the brain.

‘Then we start having fear and then we go further back into the hippocampus which is where negative memories live.’

Individuals aren’t the only ones worrying with Treasury economists expecting Australia’s unemployment rate to surge to 9.25 per cent by Christmas, reaching a level unseen in Australia since September 1994.

The jobless rate is already at 7.4 per cent, the highest in almost 22 years, and almost one million people are officially unemployed, a record for Australia, before those who have given up looking for work are even acknowledged in the statistics.

Private credit went backwards in May and June, the first-back-back decline since 2009 during the Global Financial Crisis, the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed on Friday.

Then there’s the fact Australia is set to sink into a recession in 2020 for the first time in 29 years. 

Despite those grim economic statistics, Canfield said Australians needed to train themselves to stay psychologically strong by seeing the good things that could happen in a crisis.

‘So we’re afraid because we think we’re going to get the coronavirus and when we never get the coronavirus, we’re going to lose our jobs, we’re going to lose our house, and the reality is you need to go into the future to do that,’ he said.

‘As you go into the future, you have two options: you can use your imagination to create negative outcomes or you can use your imagination to create positive outcomes.

‘Now most people, they’re not trained to do that.’

Have the right skills to benefit from a crisis

Jaffas were invented in Australia in 1931, with James Stedman-Henderson Sweets finding a following with orange-flavour coated chocolates at the height of the Great Depression.

The first Jaffa lollies were invented in Australia in 1931, with James Stedman-Henderson Sweets finding a following with orange-flavour coated chocolates at the height of the Great Depression. Swiss multinational Nestle's now owns the trademark

The first Jaffa lollies were invented in Australia in 1931, with James Stedman-Henderson Sweets finding a following with orange-flavour coated chocolates at the height of the Great Depression. Swiss multinational Nestle’s now owns the trademark 

In the United States, Bill Gates founded software company Microsoft in 1975, a year before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple computers.

That was shortly after the oil crisis had caused a recession and an inflation surge that would spark a savings and loans crisis.

Despite the economic malaise, they saw the potential of a personal computing revolution. 

Canfield said that even during a severe economic downturn, innovation was possible with the right skills. 

‘Every recession, the Great Depression, major companies get formed,’ he said. 

This involved recognising what skills someone needed to develop.

‘You have to have the right mindset, the right attitude and you have to have the right skill set – if your skill sets don’t provide anything valuable, then you have to take action.’

Canfield said aspirational entrepreneurs needed to have self awareness. 

‘Anyone can become an entrepreneur. Some people are born naturally, let’s say their personality is more aligned with that. They’re a fast talker, they’re positive,’ he said.

Switch out of bad habits 

Success also means having focus and switching out of bad habits.

Canfield would start with switching off the news and dedicating time to more beneficial activities.

‘I would say to people, stop watching so much news, start watching YouTube videos of motivational, inspirational, informational speakers,’ Canfield said.

In the United States, Bill Gates founded software company Microsoft in 1975, a year before Steve Jobs (left during the 1970s and in 2010 on stage) and Steve Wozniak (right) co-founded Apple computers

In the United States, Bill Gates founded software company Microsoft in 1975, a year before Steve Jobs (left during the 1970s and in 2010 on stage) and Steve Wozniak (right) co-founded Apple computers

‘There are hundreds of podcasts teaching people what to do, how to build an online brand, how do do a podcast, do social media so there’s nothing you can’t learn and most of it’s free.

‘But many people, they get so scared they forget, they are in the habit of just coming home from a job that pays minimum wage or middle-class lifestyle that’s kind of dried up.’

Jack Canfield (with wife Inga) said success was about switching away from bad habits and turning off the news

Jack Canfield (with wife Inga) said success was about switching away from bad habits and turning off the news

Canfield said bad habits were a form of addiction that needed to be kicked. 

‘They don’t have the habit of studying and growing so they binge-watch TV,’ he said.

‘You literally have to discipline yourself because it’s a habit: all habits are very difficult to break.’

The self-help expert recommended accepting it would take at least two months of ‘intentional effort’ to kick a bad habit. 

‘You just don’t turn on the TV. I had to rid myself of the habit of playing games late at night – I was wasting an hour a day,’ he said.

The worst habit is being addicted to fear.

‘We’re wasting time doing the negative things that are reinforcing our beliefs,’ he said. 

‘All crises create opportunities, more for some than others, no question.’ 

Jack Canfield is hosting a free live stream seminar, How To Make Multiple Streams of Internet Income at 10am AEST, August 8 across Australia at www.jackcanfieldlivestream.com