The 52-year-old bassist, who is fronting the Walk in My Shoes campaign, said he felt unable to speak about his dark thoughts when he was at his lowest ebb, even though he was part of the biggest rock band on the planet.
The musician said he is now speaking publicity about his demons as part of a campaign to get young men to seek help for depression.
“People generally find it difficult to share those kinds of personal thoughts and I did in my own experience,” said Clayton. “I’m an ex-drinker and a very happy ex-drinker, but before I got to that point, I had been through the whole process of suicidal thoughts and the whole process of depression, and really just not realising these were all the results of drink and that, by talking to the right kind of counsellor, I could actually make some progress and I could see that as my problem.
“I don’t want to make it about alcoholism but I think, whatever the causes of the depression are, it’s the depression that is important and that’s the thing one can treated for.”
Clayton told the Ray D’Arcy Show yesterday that most people, especially young men, tend to shy away from admitting they have a mental illness.
“Mental illness is a very broad word and there is a lot of stigma to it and perhaps a better term is if their state of mind is not right, and if they are not feeling good, that there are a lot of services out there to help you cope,” he said.
“This is really about encouraging young people that may have some difficulties to seek help and to realise there is help out there and there is nothing wrong with seeking help, and that everybody at some point in their lives finds it difficult to cope.”
The bassist, who is currently holidaying in Brazil, also spoke about the band’s hope to have a new album out before the end of the year.
“It’s certainly the plan. I would love to say it was firm but I can’t really say that at this moment in time. It is certainly our intention to have a record out before the end of the year.”