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Leah Charles-King opens up about her bipolar diagnosis and why she hid it for 7 years

 The A Place in the Sun host candidly opened up about her own journey...

Senior Online Writer
May 23, 2024
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Television presenter, Leah Charles-King bravely opened up about her battle with bipolar disorder in a candid conversation with HELLO!.

The A Place in the Sun star has been an ambassador for Bipolar UK for five years and this year she is supporting the organisation as they team up with Big Give for their Kind2Mind initiative. Big Give will double any of the donations made to the charity.

A photo of Leah Charles-King holding a Bipolar UK sign
Leah has been an ambassador for the charity for five years

Opening up about why the cause is so important to her, Leah candidly discussed her own diagnosis, explaining she thought that "her life was over".

"I was diagnosed with bipolar about 13 years ago and I hid it for seven years because of the shame, the stigma, the label of it all," she started.  

A photo of Leah Charles-King talking into a microphone
The A Place in the Sun presenter has bravely opened up about her own diagnosis with bipolar disorder

"I thought my life was over, my career was over and I'd never work again really. It was very embarrassing for me, especially in my community as a black British woman because it's not spoken about. It's very taboo."

Talking about how it impacted her career in broadcasting, she added: "My star started to rise again but I felt like a fraud. I started winning awards for being inspirational and helping others but no one knew my real dark secret which was that I've got bipolar. I thought if they all knew they wouldn't want to work with me and it was just an awful time."

After years of feeling bogged down by the weight of her "secret" she explained that one day, out of nowhere, she bit the bullet and revealed the truth of her diagnosis on social media, and she couldn't have been met with a better response. 

"I said: 'I have bipolar, this is me, this is what I've been going through but I'm doing well.' The response was so phenomenal and from that day on I've never looked back.

Leah Charles-King holding a sign for Bipolar UK
This year Leah is teaming up with Big Give, who will double donations made to the charity

"Less than a year after that, I became an ambassador for Bipolar UK and not only do I use my platform to share and amplify their message but obviously representation matters as well, so I'm trying to do as much advocacy and campaigning as possible alongside my TV career, showing people that there's life after diagnosis."

Leah elaborated on the incredible work the charity does, explaining that it takes on average nine and half years to get a diagnosis. In a lot of cases, people can be driven to take their own lives, something which she has experienced herself.

A photo of Leah Charles-King on stage
The broadcaster has been campaigning for faster diagnoses as well as sharing her own jounrney to help others

"You can imagine the suicides that take place in that time, the lives that are destroyed, not just for the person with bipolar but their families and their friends it's very destructive when it's undiagnosed and untreated.

Adding: "I was one of those people, I attempted to take my life several times because of the pain of it.

"I did try to fight for myself but I was told time and time again that because I was very articulate and self-aware, that I couldn't possibly have it and so I kept being given antidepressants which eventually induced the manic side of bipolar which then put me in even greater danger."

During her whirlwind journey to get a diagnosis, Leah said it was her career that pulled her through. "My career, I should say, has always been what has given me hope and driven me. And it's always given me something to keep striving for."

What is Bipolar UK?

Bipolar UK is currently the only national charity dedicated to empowering individuals and families affected by bipolar. The official website for the organsiation explains that  "peer support" is at the core of their work, and that they empower approximately 1,000 people a month to stay well.

Talking about the charity, Leah added: "It's a small charity but they're doing major things, especially when it comes to research and trying to help others, so it's a pleasure and an honour to be their ambassador and I hope lots of money is raised."

To have your charity donation doubled via Big Give’s Kind2Mind campaign, visit and search for Bipolar UK or your chosen charity.

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