MPs not immune to mental health problems
Posted Tuesday 29 December 2009
On the day that Iris Robinson MP has spoken out about her experience of depression, Time to Change, England’s most ambitious programme to end mental health discrimination led by charities Mind and Rethink, calls for greater openness about mental health issues at Westminster.
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change said:
“Mental health problems can affect anyone, young or old, rich or poor so it’s no surprise that MPs are not immune to depression. Some of the most prominent political figures in history have had depression such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. However, in today’s society it remains a taboo for MPs to speak openly about mental distress. A recent study (1) showed one in five MPs has experienced mental health problems but many fear disclosing this and would anticipate a hostile reaction. Iris Robinson has been brave enough to speak out but the vast majority of sitting MPs don’t feel they can be so open. As we enter a new decade, let’s hope it marks the dawning of a new era for mental health and that Iris Robinson’s decision will trigger far more openness about mental health in politics.”
(1) Mental Health in Parliament (2008) http://www.mind.org.uk/news/282_mps_forced_to_hide_mental_health_problems
Notes to editors
- Time to Change is England’s most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation’s wellbeing. Mind and Rethink are leading the programme, funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £4m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.
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- The Big Lottery Fund’s support for Time to Change comes from its £165m Well-being programme. The Big Lottery Fund has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 / Out of hours: 07867 500 572 Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 /
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- Comic Relief is committed to supporting people living with mental health problems. The projects Comic Relief funds ensure people with mental health problems get their voices heard in the decisions that affect their lives and to get the help they need to recover. Comic Relief also helps people to promote their rights and reduce the stigma and discrimination they face so that they feel more included in society. The £4 million grant to Time to Change is part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com