Members of Parliament Disclose Struggles w/ Depression & Anxiety


“Like a hundred little blackmails a day” is how British Member of Parliament Charles Walker described his struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. He, along with several other MPs disclosed their personal struggles during debate about a bill on mental illness.

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MP Charles Walker: obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is ‘like a hundred little blackmails a day’

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]


  1. “Gavin Barwell, the Conservative who sponsored the bill, said he expects that in a few years it will seem amazing there were laws discriminating against the mentally ill.”

    Doesn’t this article demonstrate there is no distinction between the “mentally ill” and everybody else?

    If someone is a member of Parliament, he or she is not incapacitated by whatever mental condition claimed. Is that really “mental illness,” whatever *that* is? Or is it evidence that everyone has traits that may hamper success?

    It seems to me this article illustrates how far medicalization of everyday life has progressed.

  2. “MPs reveal struggles with mental illness” – wrong.

    MPs reveal that they are human beings – capable of making mistakes, being hurt, feeling fear, insecurity, loss, unknowing, powerlessness, pretense, puppets of illusion – the list is endless.

    “In politics we are designed to think that somehow if you admit fault or frailty you are going to be looked on in a disparaging way both by the electorate but also by your peers,” Jones said.”

    You mean like the rest of the world’s human beings?


    • Yes. I struggled, as always, with using the phrase “mental illness.” I was careful to use “Depression & Anxiety” in the headline, but in discussing the bill it was the phrase they used, and other things I tried just didn’t feel right because it wasn’t what they had said.

      But I am very glad you pointed it out.

  3. Sorry if I’m misreading the article, but isn’t it saying:
    “Health Minister Paul Burstow said the government supports legislation that PREVENTS some people diagnosed with mental illness from serving on juries, in Parliament or as company directors”.

    I.e. people like me/them should NOT be allowed to be a Juror, in Parliament, or Company Directors? Isn’t this a bad thing?