British 'Agony aunt' Sally Brampton dies after fight with depression

Sally Brampton was widely credited for creating the template for the modern women's magazine.
Sally Brampton was widely credited for creating the template for the modern women's magazine.TWITTER/THE TELEGRAPH

Leading British advice columnist and fashion writer Sally Brampton, who wrote candidly about her battle with depression, died on Tuesday (May 10) after being seen "walking into the sea".

The 60-year-old's death at St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, in England was met with shock by her former husbands, relatives and friends and colleagues in the fashion world.

The Telegraph newspaper reported that Ms Brampton, who was born in Brunei, had gone through a long period of intermittent but severe depression.

In a piece she once wrote on her experience of attending twice-weekly sessions of intensive psychotherapy, Ms Brampton said she told herself to "Stop snivelling. Stop complaining. Stop whining."

Described by former colleagues as "smart, tough and stylish", she was widely credited for creating the template for the modern women's magazine.

She was hired as editor when French magazine Elle launched a British edition in 1985, which contained the usual high fashion but also in-depth investigations of issues such as counterfeiting and fertility.

Ms Brampton used her own struggle with depression to write the memoir Shoot the Damn Dog (2008). While it was regarded as critical work on the subject, many media figures found it remarkable that such a connected and successful woman could be a depressive.

In his Observer review, Simon Garfield said that "she writes of her despair with such fluidity and lyricism that it is sometimes difficult to imagine her as the stumbling and empty figure she describes".

She had been warned that baring her soul in her writing might make her life more difficult, though its predominant theme of the importance of connections and friendships had the effect of bringing people closer to her.

Tributes have called for Ms Brampton to be remembered as the woman whose ferocious honesty about depression saved lives.