Drag Race star Divina de Campo speaks of mental health struggles in lockdown documentary made by furloughed Huddersfield theatre worker

Drag queen Divina de Campo opened up on their struggles with depression in a documentary featuring people across the North discussing mental health during the lockdown.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK runner up, Divina de Campo, who is originally from Brighouse in Calderdale. Picture: BBC

The UK Drag Race runner up, who is originally from Brighouse, spoke of suffering a mental breakdown while at university in the short film made by Hayden Sugden an office assistant at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.

Mr Sugden, 25, was one of hundreds of thousands of Brits who experienced depression and anxiety over the past year after being furloughed from his job, and set out to make the film to share others' experiences in the hopes their stories would make people feel less alone.

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Entitled 'The Silent Pandemic: Mental health and Covid-19', the documentary speaks to various people including the drag star on how they have coped with mental illness, while drama graduate Mr Sugden also hopes it will help him raise money for the charity Samaritans.

Hayden Sugden

"After struggling myself during lockdown, I started talking to other people about how I was feeling and it all started from there," said Mr Sugden.

"Divina de Campo has always been a really big advocate for mental health and after meeting her at a show at Lawrence Batley, I decided to reach out. She speaks really openly about how she has struggled and how drag has been an escape for her."

In the film, the drag star talks about how their depression has come in "bouts" over the years, and how they started taking anti-depressants following the hit reality series RuPaul's Drag Race UK, in which they came second to The Vivienne.

"I've had bouts of depression on and off most of my adult life," Divina says in the documentary.

"I had a breakdown when I was at university about when I was 21, and since then, every six years or so it happens. Sometimes I can manage it absolutely fine but others it will drag on."

Mr Sugden's film also features Coronation Street actor and radio presenter Daniel Westwood, an ambassador for charity Mind who set up his own men's mental health campaign, Here4U.

Rates of depression have more than doubled since before the coronavirus pandemic, with young people – especially women – hit the hardest, figures have suggested.

More than a fifth (21 per cent) of people aged 16 and over in Britain experienced some form of depression between January 27 and March 7, according data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this month.

The figure was up from 10 ten percent before the pandemic, between July 2019 and March 2020.

"The main purpose of the documentary was just to highlight people's different experiences," Mr Sugden added.

"Millions of people in the UK will have suffered in some way by the end of the pandemic, yet there still is just not enough funding in place to support people."

Mr Sugden's documentary can be viewed on YouTube, while the accompanying fundraising page for Samaritans can be visited here.

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