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Smitherman: "No shame" in late husband's struggle and suicide

As part of Bell Let's Talk Day, former mayoral candidate George Smitherman is opening up about his late husband's depression.

George Smitherman and Christopher Peloso
CTV

As part of Bell Let's Talk Day, former mayoral candidate George Smitherman is opening up about his late husband's depression.

Christopher Peloso committed suicide last month.

Smitherman says Peloso was never diagnosed with depression, but struggled with mental and physical pain.

"I think that the pressures of family life and some of the loss of identity that came from giving up a very successful professional career... really did animate these underlying challenges," Smitherman says.

Smitherman tells John Tory that there is no shame in the circumstances surrounding his husband's health.

"If I say there's no shame in it, then there is no shame in it. At least for me," he says. "And that's the power I have over this conversation."

Smitherman also talked about his own struggle with addiction and how he overcame it. In 2010, he admitted that he was addicted once to drugs.

He says that moment of openness had a big impact on him.

"It liberated me, it freed me," Smitherman says.

If he were to give a piece of advice to someone suffering from mental illness, he says it would be to be that open about your struggles. And he says it doesn't have to be a public announcement or a blog post that goes out to the world.

"To write a letter that's never sent, even."

Smitherman says he hopes being open about his late husband's struggle will bring about that same kind of catharsis for him.

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