Justin Welby: I've felt 'hopeless' with the 'black dog' of depression

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has opened up about his own mental health struggles, describing bouts of depression and feeling 'hopeless'.

ReutersArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has described his own struggle with the 'black dog' of depression.

Welby admitted to encounters with the 'black dog' of depression in an interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ.

Asked if he ever got depressed, he replied: 'I think if you had asked me a year ago I'd have said no, and ten years ago I would have said absolutely not. But what was that phrase Churchill used? "Black dog".

'There is an element of that. I think as I am getting older I am realising it does come from time to time. I have those moments - you would know this - when objectively everything is fine, but you think you are, beyond description, hopeless.'

Campbell, who has been an increasingly vocal advocate on mental health awareness, said: 'I've had all this hopeless stuff. My sister says if I had God it wouldn't happen.'

The Archbishop responded: 'Read Psalm 88. I bet you will find someone in there going through genuine chronic depression. When I get like that, I may feel without hope, I may feel all kinds of things, but I also talk to God.'

Welby said that he has not seen anyone for his depression, though he might have felt the need. He said that at present it 'seems to pass'.

Welby's daughter Katharine Welby-Roberts has become known for her honesty about her own struggle with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Welby-Roberts has written for Christian Today about the need to reduce the stigma, particularly in the church, around mental health.

An excerpt of Welby's GQ interview can be read here.