Fern Britton has revealed that during her darkest moments battling depression she felt as if she might as well “vanish”.

The former This Morning host, 53, who has taken antidepressants for several years, also said she believes people who commit suicide are ‘brave’.

Fern, who is about to launch Channel 4’s new teatime show, told the Radio Times that she was ‘completely under control at the moment’.

But she said: “I take a small dose (of antidepressants) every day and have done for more than five years. To me it’s like a diabetic taking insulin – it tops up my brain and it works.”

The mother-of-four, who took a mild overdose of paracetamol when she was in her twenties, said she had not suffered from ‘episodes… for a long time now’.

But she told the magazine: “When you are in the pit, it’s very, very hard… That half-sane part of you is saying, ‘I have so much to look forward to, so much to be thankful for’ but you don’t feel any of it because you have so little impact on anything that you may as well vanish.

“It’s a terrible thing. When I hear that people have taken their own lives, I actually think ‘how very, very brave’.

“I can also understand people left behind saying ‘how selfish’, but for the person who has been in such mental torture, the bravery of doing that – and the secrecy – is… well I don’t say it’s admirable, but I understand it.”