Mental health charities have welcomed a recent debate in the House of Commons which saw a series of MPs reveal their personal experiences of mental health problems, some for the first time.
According to figures gathered by the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some sort of problem affecting their mental health in the course of a year; problems such as stress, depression and anxiety are the most common. However, mental health remains a taboo subject for many people and there are still barriers in law which adversely affect people with mental health problems.
Tory MP Gavin Barwell is campaigning to change the law to remove discrimination against people with mental illness, including the bar on so-called ‘mentally disordered persons’ serving on juries. His Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill will also amend legislation under which a person will cease to be a company director ‘by reason of their mental health’ and removes rules under which an MP automatically loses their seat if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months.
MPs who disclosed their own experiences of mental health problems during the debate included Kevan Jones who suffered ‘deep depression’, Dr Sarah Wollaston who experienced suicidal thoughts after the birth of her child, and Charles Walker who revealed he had lived with OCD for many years.
Sue Baker of the mental health charity Time to Change, said: ‘It is incredibly encouraging that MPs have spoken out in Parliament today. This will go down in the history books as we have never before seen parliamentarians feel able to discuss their mental health problems openly without fear of discrimination.’
Source: Daily Mail
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