Monty Don responds after being accused of trotting out tragic story about his struggles

Monty Don discusses suffering with mental health difficulties

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Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don has hit back after a Twitter user accused him of “trotting out” his “tragic story” about his battle with depression at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week. The BBC star, 66, has been bravely vocal in the past about how gardening helped him recover from depression and on Wednesday night, he candidly broached the subject during an appearance at the flower show in a bid to encourage people to take up gardening to aid their own mental health. Following the comments on social media, Monty responded to the accusations by explaining why he feels it’s important to discuss personal subjects in order to help others.

Have you not ever thought he uses it as a ploy for sympathy/attention/good press/getting on the bandwagon?


Sitting down on Wednesday evening, Monty discussed his battle with depression, which he said started in his 20s.

After seeing a Chinese doctor, Monty shared how he went back to the “earth” after being told he needed to leave London to become well again.

He said: “Here at Chelsea surrounded by all these incredible plants, and the brilliant design, and the prize-winning vegetables, sometimes we can forget that actually gardening is personal.

“It’s not for other people, and it’s so important for our wellbeing,” Monty said, before adding that gardening is “so important to so many of us for our mental health and wellbeing”.

However, following the star’s personal story, some social media users took to Twitter to tell the star to “give it a rest” when it came to discussing his mental health.

@Concraigsmith wrote: “Is it compulsory for everyone who’s interviewed for the @show_chelsea programme to parrot that gardening is ‘good for your mental health’? Couldn’t they give us a rest?” (sic)

Agreeing with him, @PaddyTobin5 replied: “It is truly tiresome and so prevalent that the non-gardener would be justified in assuming that all who garden do so to remedy their mental ill-health.

“And Monty Don trotted it out again, his tragic story and recuperation through gardening. A worn out story!” he ended his tweet.

Many of the BBC star’s fans were shocked by the critical response of some to Monty’s RHS appearance, and immediately defended the horticulturalist for speaking so openly about his mental health battle.

After a fan of the star’s responded and supported him for speaking about his mental health, another social media user went on to claim that the gardener’s mental health story “reeks of insincerity”.

@PaddyTobin5 wrote: “But have you not ever thought he uses it as a ploy for sympathy/attention/good press/getting on the bandwagon?

“I feel it reeks of insincerity and on a ranking with trotting out the dogs on the television show – people love it, so let’s use it again and again and again!”

Commenting on the harsh remark, Twitter user @thriftygreen wrote: “Oh my god. How on earth could anyone have this attitude towards mental health! This thread is astonishing!

“Whilst not everyone who gardens does so for their mental health, some of us do and in raising awareness for it may help another person who might be struggling!!”

They later replied saying: “You may not like [Monty] or believe him to be sincere but I think your assumption of his mental health struggles being disingenuous are incorrect,” while tagging the gardener himself.

Attempting to defend their comments about how “tiresome” it is that Monty addressed his mental health at the flower show, @PaddyTobin5 wrote back.

They penned: “I must commend most sincerely your thoughtfulness for others. My conversations on the subject have been in much smaller circles, close friends.”

They went on to explain that they found the gardener’s approach of discussing his mental health battles “cheapening”, due to him being in the public eye.

“The publicity is something I find off-putting, unsuitable, something I find uncomfortable, even cheapening,” they wrote.

Responding to the tweet, Monty explained that by openly addressing his mental health problems, he hopes to “empower” other people to speak about their own mental health battles without “shame”.

The BBC gardener replied: “I sympathise with this view but am persuaded that by talking publicly I can empower some who feel embarrassed, lonely or shy to begin to talk – to anyone- without shame or humiliation.

“Which is overwhelmingly what I used to feel,” Monty added.

After the social media user thanked the star for his reply, they admitted they still found the conversation “tiresome”, as they wished Monty good health.

“Thank you. Best wishes,” the Longmeadow owner responded.

If you need support or advice, you can contact the Samaritans helpline by calling 116 123.

The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day every day of the year. You can also contact Samaritans by emailing [email protected]

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