Alastair Campbell is one of the most recognisable names in British politics. On the surface, he enjoyed great success with the Labour Party, but behind closed doors, Alastair experienced immense pressure. Stress weighed so heavily on his shoulders, that Alastair suffered a depressive breakdown in 1986. Now, he tours the world as a mental health speaker, and uses his story as a vehicle for positive change. Authentic and honest, Alastair’s account is a living example of the need for mental health support.
Following an exceptionally successful career as a columnist, most notably with the Daily Mirror and Today as their Political Correspondent, Alastair suffered an alcohol-induced nervous breakdown. He was taken to BMI Hospital, where he received help for his alcoholism, and concluded his recovery in Cheltenham. Alastair now talks openly about this experience, to dismantle the stigma surrounding depressive breakdowns.
Upon returning to work, Alastair was appointed spokesperson and campaign director by Tony Blair. He often recounts how Blair looked past his breakdown, stating “look, I’m not bothered if you’re not bothered”. In 1997, he was appointed Downing Street Press Secretary, before becoming Downing Street Director of Communications in 2000. Alastair’s high-pressure career taught him the mindset needed to manage extreme stress, a sentiment he now discusses with audiences at events.
With a lifetime of stories to tell, Alastair has published several bestselling books. The Happy Depressive in 2012 and Living Better in 2020 tackled mental health issues head-on, including both the British public’s struggles as well as his own. He has also presented two BBC documentaries on similar topics, Cracking Up Alastair Campbell: Depression and Me. Such mainstream discussion of mental health earned him an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Alastair has worked with several mental health charities, including MIND, Time to Change, the Mental Health Foundation and Australians for Mental Health, which whom he is a global ambassador. He is the perfect addition to Mental Health Awareness Week events, as Alastair strikes the balance between educational and honest, humorous and thought-provoking. He has the power to transform an audience’s perception of mental health.
“Controversial, thought-provoking and highly entertaining, Alastair gave a refreshingly candid insight into past and present political leaders and events that captivated our guests.”
“Alastair’s speech was hugely appreciated, as was his good humour with guests.”
“The feedback from the event has been excellent and the audience thoroughly enjoyed listening to your entertaining and frank discourse.”