Anger over John Waters' depression comments
JOURNALIST John Waters has plunged himself into further controversy by saying "there is no such thing" as depression.
Organisations that help people who are suicidal have criticised the remarks.
Mr Waters said in an interview with the 'Sunday Independent' yesterday: "I don't believe in depression. There's no such thing. It's an invention. It's bulls**t. It's a cop out."
Paul Kelly, founder of the national suicide charity Console, said: "To come out with a statement like that for people struggling with the pain of depression, or for those living with a family member who is depressed, is deeply offensive.
"Mr Waters' comments are unhelpful and shallow and fail to acknowledge or understand the deep distress and unbearable emotional pain of those suffering from this condition."
Mr Kelly, who set up the suicide prevention and intervention service, stressed that depression "is clinically recognised as a condition, and very treatable condition with the right support".
However, he added: "There are 500 suicides in this country every year and 12,000 people present at hospital Accident and Emergency departments who have self-harmed or attempted suicide," he said.
He pointed out that Console's 24 hour helpline – 1800-247-247 – receives 3,000 calls a month "from people on the brink of ending their lives or family members and others who are worried about someone who is depressed."
Mr Kelly said: "Our organisation is trying to encourage people to seek help, not to suffer in silence."
Mr Waters made his comments in a interview about the fallout from the 'Pantigate' controversy and the backlash over legal action against RTE for comments made by Rory O'Neill on 'The Saturday Night Show'.
He said he lost sleep and a stone in weight and is afraid to go into Dublin's city centre at night because people have been shouting abuse at him.
His outburst on depression related to a question asking him if he had become depressed as a result of the backlash.