Labyrinth – Conversations on Mental Health is a project that results from a partnership between FLAD and the newspaper Observador, where we seek to shed light on mental health issues through a series of interviews that will bring stories and in-depth accounts of various Portuguese public figures on these issues, in the first person.

After the MEP of the Left Bloc, Marisa Matias, being the face of the premiere of this project, the second guest is the writer, cartoonist and radio host Hugo van der Ding, who reports on his struggle with bipolar disorder.

There were at least five or six periods of deep depression — always long, could last for months; and always “tragic”, whole days spent at home, with “black thoughts” and unable to function. Hugo van der Ding says he even knew what he had since he was 15 or 16, but it was only after all these phases, already in his 30s, that he decided to seek help. The trigger was a very clear certainty: “If I don’t treat this, At 50 I’m going to die.” “This” was bipolar disorder.

The writer, cartoonist and radio host —and so many other things he’s been doing—is thrilled to recall the impact of hearing the therapist tell him he couldn’t come back the next day, as he wanted. She’d be there once a week and they’d just follow that calendar. He felt that finally someone had a plan to help him: “Maybe I needed someone to say to me, ‘No, enough, let’s take care of this, but I’m in charge here.'”


To all who have agreed to share their story, our most sincere thank you.

Stay tuned for upcoming conversations! They will be available on our website and social networks.