Alastair Campbell: 'How playing the bagpipes helped my depression'

Alastair Campbell says playing the pipes has helped him deal with his depression. PIC: PA Wire/Victoria Jones.
Alastair Campbell says playing the pipes has helped him deal with his depression. PIC: PA Wire/Victoria Jones.
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Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has told how playing the bagpipes helped him deal with his depression.

Campbell, a former adviser to Tony Blair, has suffered from depression for many years but said his connections to Scotland helped him through the darkest of times.

He said: "My brother Donald, who had schizophrenia, was a Glasgow University piper for 20-odd years. Since he and my dad died, I get this extraordinary connection with them through the pipes.

READ MORE: Oldest Highland bagpipes to be played at clan meeting

"Quite often I play laments and sometimes I'll be in tears. It's an emotional release. At other times, I get a nice, reflective feeling.

"And playing with other people can give you a happy feeling. I get so much out of it."

READ MORE: Family of late Frightened Rabbit singer launches mental health charity in his memory

Campbell, whose parents were from Scotland, said he feels Scottish despite being born and raised in England.

Campbell has suffered from mental health issues most of his life and still endures episodes of depression, for which he takes daily medication.

In a documentary to be screened this week on BBC, he opens up the impact his mental health has had on his family, including his daughter who suffers from anxiety.

Campbell also said more need to be done to support political figures struggling with mental health issues.

Alastair Campbell: Depression and Me, will air on BBC2 on Tuesday at 9pm.