Letter: Depression hope

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Sir: As a lifelong supporter of Liverpool FC I was vociferous in my condemnation of Stan Collymore during his time at Anfield. As a sufferer from depressive illness I have greater empathy with him as I read of events at Aston Villa ("Collymore `should be in hospital' say doctors", 10 March).

I too have been told by my employer that my recovery is not proceeding as rapidly as they require. Timescales for recovery are to be measured in months or years, not days or weeks. This is as hard to accept for the sufferer as for the employer.

As a society we have a serious issue to face in the causes and effects of depressive illness. Provided sound medical advice confirms the diagnoses, it is imperative that the sufferer be given maximum support and minimum pressure.

Like Collymore I fervently hope to be able to fully resume my career, but medication and cognitive therapy coupled with a reduced workload is the only way forward.

Aston Villa will get their striker back in the form they want if they show genuine understanding and patience now. If you have a broken leg people see the problem and adjust their approach.

Depressives usually appear "normal" and this is taken as indicating that no problem exists. I would join Collymore, and many others, in a plea for greater openness, awareness and understanding.

We are not charlatans, but ill people in need of support and treatment. We can, and many will, fully recover.

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