Andrea McLean breaks down on Loose Women while discussing her postnatal depression

Andrea McLean was comforted by her Loose Women co-hosts when she broke down live on air whilst discussing her struggle with postnatal depression.

The emotional outburst came as the panel talked about their Lighter The Load campaign, where viewers are encouraged to nominate a person in their lives who has helped them overcome a mental health issue.

Andrea has spoken openly about suffering from postnatal depression in the past, telling the panel last year, ‘I think obviously there’s a stigma mentioning [a mental health issue] at work – I felt ashamed. I’m the “coper” in my family. I’ve always been the strong one. For me this was seen as a sign of “why am I not coping? I had a baby before, what’s the difference?”‘

But it was during yesterday’s show that the mum revealed the full story behind her diagnosis and recovery from the illness.

‘I would like to nominate my hero. Basically this is someone that I work with here on Loose Women,’ Andrea said. ‘Now you wouldn’t necessarily think that a work colleague is someone you open up to, when you come to work you put your work face on and you present your best possible self.

‘You keep hidden something that might be bothering you – for me it was postnatal depression. I was being so careful to make sure I came across as professional, don’t show any weakness, don’t cry in front of anybody, don’t crack, don’t break, keep going you can do this.

‘And the one person who saw through all that was Donna. Donna is my friend and make-up artist here at Loose Women.’

Andrea explained that it was Donna who had urged Andrea to get some professional help when she was at her lowest.

‘All she said was “I think you need to get some help”. It was just those little words that made me go to the doctors to get some medical help that I didn’t even realise that I needed.’

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Visibly emotional, Andrea then brought Donna out on to the stage, who received a huge round of applause from the studio audience.

The Lighten the Load campaign asks viewers to make a pledge to discuss mental health more openly – to talk if you’ve been affected, and to listen to others who have.

The campaign is interactive and entirely anonymous.