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Mental health problems ‘twice as high among MPs’

Half are unwilling to open up to party Whips or other politicians

MPs are twice as likely to have mental health problems as other people in comparable work positions, a poll suggests. 

More than a third of the 146 MPs responding to the King’s College London survey had mental health issues and feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness and depression, compared to 17% of members of the public.

Dr Dan Poulter MP, lead co-author, said the study suggests a high level of mental distress among MPs and raises important issues about how people making and scrutinising the laws that run the country can be better supported.

MPs were also asked if they knew about the mental health support services available to them, as well as their willingness to talk about their mental health with party Whips or other MPs.

Most MPs were unaware of the anonymous Parliamentary Health and Wellbeing Service, which was set up in 2013 for their workplace health needs.

More than three out of four (77%) did not know about the service, while over half (55%) didn’t know how to access it. 

Around half said they were unwilling to open up about their mental health to party Whips or other politicians, according to the poll reported by the Telegraph.

Lead co-author Dr Nicole Votrub, said: “People in every kind of workplace should be able to access help when experiencing mental distress so we were concerned to discover how few MPs knew about support services within Parliament. The extent of stigma among MPs, which our results indicate, is startling and seems out of step with increasing public awareness of mental health.”