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Eamonn Holmes tried to help me with depression fight, says TV's Fiona Phillips

By Sherna Noah

Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips has told how fellow host Eamonn Holmes urged her to seek help when she feared she was on the "verge of a breakdown" during her days as the queen of breakfast television.

Early-morning starts, combined with looking after her parents, who both had dementia, and raising two young boys took their toll on the TV star.

Phillips told the Sunday Telegraph that Belfast-born Holmes, her co-presenter on GMTV, told her she needed help.

"That was the most stressful period I went through," she said. "It was absolute madness and I feared I was on the verge of massive depression and a breakdown.

"Eamonn Holmes used to say to me, 'You're clinically depressed and you need to get help'.

"I'd say, 'No, I'm fine'. I felt that if I admitted to it then everything would crumble, and who would look after my mum and dad and the children?"

Phillips said she probably would not "still be here" if it was not for her husband Martin Frizell, a former GMTV editor.

She told the newspaper that one of her children "has had terrible anxiety problems".

"When it's a mental health thing, you don't get as much understanding," she said.

"It really is catastrophic, and in a family it's hard.

"As a parent you think, 'God, have we done something wrong here? Are we so stressed out at times he's taken it on board?'"

Phillips, who is presenting a BBC1 documentary, The Truth About Stress, said that the school experience for children had been "ruined" because they are "so stressed out now", telling the newspaper: "They're just hammering them all the time. They've made education an awful, stressful minefield."

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