Stacey Dooley urges mental health discussion and shares coping strategies

Watch: Stacey Dooley shares what helps her with her mental health

Stacey Dooley has encouraged people to talk about their mental health to receive help, while sharing what helps her wellbeing day to day.

The rituals that help the TV presenter and journalist stay positive include escapism, dancing in the kitchen (aka 'kitchen disco'), music, 'nonsense', and shopping.

Speaking to hosts Dan Walker and Sally Nugent on BBC Breakfast, Stacey, 34, said, "I would encourage anyone to just talk, I know it sounds like a bit of a cliche, and perhaps a bit earnest.

"But if you are feeling poorly, or wobbly, or 'I'm not really coping' do talk because there are really amazing people around you desperate to help."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Stacey Dooley attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 at Television Centre on June 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Strictly Come Dancing winner Stacey Dooley reveals 'Kitchen Disco' helps her with her wellbeing. (Getty Images) (Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)

The discussion comes after Dooley released her new book last week, Are You Really OK? Understanding Britain's Mental Health Emergency, which explores mental health in young people, through conversations with them, as well as with the help of mental health experts and charities.

When asked what helps her personally, Dooley said, "I think I really indulge in escapism. I think that's massively important.

"Sometimes there's a tendency to think 'Oh you know, do I make serious documentaries, or do I write serious books'."

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Other lighter things that help her include, "Dancing about the kitchen, music, nonsense, shopping, all of that jazz."

When Nugent interjected with, "Kitchen disco?", a reference to Sophie-Ellis-Bextor's music, Dooley laughed and nodded in agreement, "Yeah, kitchen disco!"

It seems Dooley's dancing abilities, showcased when she won Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 with partner Kevin Clifton, her now boyfriend, are still being put to good use.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:   Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley attend the press night performance of
Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley have been together since 2019 after winning Strictly in 2018. (Getty Images) (David M. Benett via Getty Images)

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She continued, "But you need to, you know, we're multifaceted and we've got different sides to us."

Dooley's previous documentaries on mental health have included the series Back on the Psych Ward, where she investigated the frontline of mental health services (put under even more pressure during Covid-19), visiting Springfield Hospital in London.

The impact of the pandemic has caused mental health to deteriorate further in the UK, with more people suffering and services stretched, causing a vicious circle.

Around a third of adults and young people said their mental health had got much worse since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, a survey of almost 12,000 people across England and Wales launched in April 2021 by the charity Mind found.

On top of this, nine in 10 young people (88%) said that loneliness had made their mental health worse during the pandemic, with them being subject to school closures, virtual lessons and many unable to see friends in formative or key years.

Young sad girl looking out window in pandemic. (Getty Images)
Loneliness has risen in young people due to the pandemic. (Getty Images) (Justin Paget via Getty Images)

Young people should be able to access support when they need it, before they reach crisis point. This led Mind to launch Fund the Hubs, a campaign calling on the UK government to fund a network of early support hubs for young people aged 11-25 across England. In November last, year, Southwark became the first council to back the campaign.

With parents also reporting a decline in their wellbeing due to the pandemic, trying to support their child's mental health due to overstretched services, as well as their own, can often feel impossible.

As many as nine in 10 (86%) parents said the pandemic has left them feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope, and lacking balance in their life, a January survey by charity stem4 found. Most parents and carers said they have little or no time to take of their own mental health needs, leaving four in 10 in mental health distress.

Read more: Why the Pandemic has Driven a Maternal Mental Health Crisis

If you need to ask about mental health problems, where to get help near you, treatment options or advocacy services, Mind's Infoline is 0300 123 3393 while its email is

Useful contacts specifically for young people's mental health include YoungMinds' parents helpline on 0808 802 5544, or its crisis messenger service, texting YM to 85258.

You can also take action to help support the Fund the Hubs campaign here.