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I was terrified: David Harewood recalls being sectioned

David Harewood (Ian West/PA)
David Harewood (Ian West/PA)

David Harewood has reflected on his experience of being sectioned in 1989, saying he was “terrified”.

The Homeland star, 54, said he was given a large dose of sedatives and sat on by police officers after he had arrived at hospital.

He told Men’s Health magazine that no one told him what had happened to him or what his prognosis would be.

House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards – Arrivals – London
(Hannah McKay/PA)

Harewood said that after passing out he was taken to hospital in north London where he “jumped out of the car” and ran inside.

“I started screaming at the top of my voice,” he said.

“I don’t remember any of this, but my friends tell me that security was called.

“They came down, took one look at me – this big black man – and said, ‘No way’.

“They called the police and then several officers turned up with riot shields and rushed me.”

(David Venni/Men’s Health UK/PA)

They then “sat on me for hours”, he said, adding: “Doctors pumped me full of sedatives and, at one point, they asked, ‘Has he taken any drugs? Because we’ve given him enough sedatives to knock out a horse and he’s not going down’.

“I was f****** terrified. The thoughts in my head were telling me that the demons had caught me, so I thought I was fighting for my life.

“Physically, what was happening to me was that six policemen were sitting on me.

“But in my mind, the devils had caught me, so I was resisting.”

He added that “I’d be dead if I’d been in America, no doubt about it”.

Last year’s BBC Two documentary David Harewood: Psychosis And Me saw the actor look back on his experience of being sectioned at the age of 23.

Read the full interview in the November issue of Men’s Health, on sale from Tuesday.

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