Struggle: Zoe Ball with Billy Yates, who died last May
Modern men often feel they ‘can’t win’ as they struggle to be ‘sensitive’ and ‘strong’ at the same time, Zoe Ball has said.
Opening up for the first time about the suicide of her boyfriend Billy Yates, the Radio 2 presenter revealed he had found it difficult to find help other than ‘anti-depressants and a bit of counselling’.
Miss Ball, 47, lamented the services offered to men who reach out, saying mental health is ‘taken for granted’ and not given enough attention.
‘The number of young men killing themselves is shocking,’ she said. ‘Why? A lot of men I have spoken to have said it’s very confusing being a modern man. You want to be sensitive but also strong. You can’t win. It’s really hard trying to be both.
‘This a disease and men suffering with depression need help. It takes the right person to break through to someone who has been brave enough to reach out.
‘We are so busy looking after our body – we drink less, we take vitamins, we exercise – but looking after the mind is taken for granted.’
Miss Ball, who also hosts the BBC Strictly spin-off It Takes Two, added: ‘From my experience with Billy, it was very difficult for him to find support. There is very little on offer other than anti-depressants and a bit of counselling.’
Of the 6,188 suicides in Britain in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, 4,622 were men.
Mr Yates, a TV cameraman, died alone at his London home in Putney last May aged 40, having struggled with depression for a number of years. Discussing the heartbreak his death caused his family and friends, Miss Ball said: ‘Especially his male friends. The ripple effect is dangerous. It can happen again. It’s scary.’
Although Mr Yates discussed his depression during their relationship, Miss Ball often felt she ‘didn’t know how to help’ and she is still ‘not sure I did the right thing’.
Opening up for the first time about the suicide of her boyfriend Billy Yates (pictured together right) Zoe Ball revealed he had found it difficult to find help other than ‘anti-depressants and a bit of counselling’
Zoe Ball crossing the fin