Writer Karen Hyland, 38, asks: what's behind these ops?
Josie Cunningham's shameless, says Karen
My heart sank and then my blood boiled when I watched a TV interview with mum-of-three Kelly McManus.
The 27-year-old had had a tummy tuck on the NHS because, she said, her post-pregnancy lumpy stomach was making her depressed.
Now, I'm the last person to belittle this very serious, very real clinical illness. As a life-long depressive, I know the torture of fighting every day to survive it and ignoring the compulsion to commit suicide when you feel so worthless. It took me 36 years to admit my illness to even my closest family and friends. Why? I felt people would judge me for being weak, lazy and pathetic.
Karen Hyland thinks Josie's having a laugh
There was – and still is – an awful stigma attached to depression but charities such as Mind and Depression Alliance are working tirelessly to change perceptions about mental health. And slowly they're making headway.
Admittedly, I'm not privy to Kelly's medical records so I don't know the whole story. But the message being sent out is that the NHS, in a time of dreadful financial strain, can pay for a woman's cosmetic treatment to make her feel like a yummy mummy.
Worse still, Kelly, an aspiring actress and singer, claims that the £5,000 surgery is cheaper than conventional treatments for depression.
It makes a complete mockery of this debilitating illness.
Shockingly, her case isn't unique. In March, wannabe glamour model Josie Cunningham, 23, hit the headlines when she proudly showed off her new 36DD boobs, acquired on the NHS. Her natural 32A breasts, she says, led to years of bullying and destroyed her sex life (although she managed to make a baby at 17 and she's had boyfriends since).
Now, here's the best bit. The deluded fool wants to sue the NHS because she says the new boobs are ruining her confidence and stopping her from getting modelling work as they're too big. No, love, that'll be your utterly forgettable and unremarkable face! Tellingly, she also revealed that she wants lots of other 'work' done. Now, I'm no psychologist, but that signals some serious self-esteem problems.
I have no objection to her receiving help from the NHS for this, as issues with self-image can lead to depression and anxiety. But 'fixing' physical imperfections rather than people's heads is doing us all a disservice.