Durham MP, Kevan Jones, close to tears as he reveals battle with depression

The Northern Echo: Kevan Jones Kevan Jones

A NORTH-EAST MP was flooded with messages of support and congratulations after bravely revealing his battle against depression, he said tonight.

Kevan Jones, Labour MP for North Durham, received dozens of emails and text messages – many from fellow sufferers – within hours of speaking about his struggle in the Commons chamber.

The former defence minister was close to tears as he told fellow MPs he had suffered from deep depression in the mid-1990s, because of work and personal issues, but had not sought help.

He appealed for a change of culture that would make it easier for other people, including fellow MPs, to reveal their mental health problems, without it being viewed as a sign of weakness.

Mr Jones told MPs: “This is the first time I have spoken about this. Indeed, some people in my family do not know about what I am going to talk about today. Like a lot of men, I tried to deal with it myself – you do not talk to people.

I hope you realise, Mr Speaker, that what I am saying is very difficult for me.

“I have thought very long and hard about this and did not actually decide to do this until I just put my notes down. It is hard, because you do not always recognise the symptoms. It creeps up very slowly.

“Also, we in politics tend to think that if we admit to fault or failure we will be looked on disparagingly by the electorate and our peers.

“Whether my having made this admission will mean that the possibility of any future ministerial career is blighted for ever for me, I do not know.”

During the debate, Dr Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative MP and a GP, disclosed she suffered suicidal feelings after having a baby, at what should have been the “happiest time of my life”. And Charles Walker, a fellow Tory, said he had suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder for the past 31 years, which he described as an “internal Tourettes”.

It meant he had to do everything in sets of four, whether it be turning off light switches or washing his hands. The illness had taken him to some “quite dark places”, he said.

The debate heard that mental health cost the UK economy £105bn a year, yet it was a Cinderella service – poorly funded, compared to other conditions, and not spoken about enough.

Afterwards, Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central, pledged to introduce a backbench bill to scrap “archaic” laws, relating to mental health.

They prevented mentally- ill people running firms, becoming school governors and undertaking jury service – and forced MPs to lose their seats, if sectioned for more than six months.

Comments (13)

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6:15am Fri 15 Jun 12

BeverleyWM says...

Well done to Kevan for bravely revealing his depression in such a public place.

Depression for some reason is still a taboo subject and I think because it is an illness you can't physically see like a broken leg, people avoid the subject.

More things need to be done to help people with mental health conditions as there are not enough services available.
Well done to Kevan for bravely revealing his depression in such a public place. Depression for some reason is still a taboo subject and I think because it is an illness you can't physically see like a broken leg, people avoid the subject. More things need to be done to help people with mental health conditions as there are not enough services available. BeverleyWM

10:12pm Fri 15 Jun 12

ajtib3 says...

Dean M wrote:
Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP.
.
What is there to be depressed about?
Moron!
[quote][p][bold]Dean M[/bold] wrote: Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP. . What is there to be depressed about?[/p][/quote]Moron! ajtib3

10:22pm Fri 15 Jun 12

Dean M says...

ajtib3 wrote:
Dean M wrote:
Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP.
.
What is there to be depressed about?
Moron!
Yeah, that's true. It must be depressing to be a moron. Thanks ajtib3, for your contribution, based on personal character I suspect.
[quote][p][bold]ajtib3[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dean M[/bold] wrote: Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP. . What is there to be depressed about?[/p][/quote]Moron![/p][/quote]Yeah, that's true. It must be depressing to be a moron. Thanks ajtib3, for your contribution, based on personal character I suspect. Dean M

10:49pm Fri 15 Jun 12

ajtib3 says...

Yes I must apologise to you Dean M - if nothing else your initial comments did indicate a deep-lying mental health problem and if nothing else this article is asking for a greater degree of tolerance and understanding toward people like yourself in society.
Once again sincerest apologies and I'll say no more on the matter.
Yes I must apologise to you Dean M - if nothing else your initial comments did indicate a deep-lying mental health problem and if nothing else this article is asking for a greater degree of tolerance and understanding toward people like yourself in society. Once again sincerest apologies and I'll say no more on the matter. ajtib3

10:57pm Fri 15 Jun 12

Dean M says...

My initial comments indicate a sense of humour that you clearly don't relate to. That's life.
.
Anyway, apology accepted and have a good evening.
My initial comments indicate a sense of humour that you clearly don't relate to. That's life. . Anyway, apology accepted and have a good evening. Dean M

12:34pm Sat 16 Jun 12

BeverleyWM says...

Ajtib3 well done for your comments, obviously Dean M has had no experience in life and is just happy to post comments about people he doesn't even know and maybe has no friends to share with so lashes out where ever he can. I myself am a young cancer survivor and like any normal person have had periods of depression but than fully I am able to share with my close friends and family.

Well done to Kevan and I hope he gets through an awful time.
Ajtib3 well done for your comments, obviously Dean M has had no experience in life and is just happy to post comments about people he doesn't even know and maybe has no friends to share with so lashes out where ever he can. I myself am a young cancer survivor and like any normal person have had periods of depression but than fully I am able to share with my close friends and family. Well done to Kevan and I hope he gets through an awful time. BeverleyWM

1:51pm Sat 16 Jun 12

the-big-yin says...

Dean M wrote:
Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP.
.
What is there to be depressed about?
lie down on my couch...
ah!! i see a deep down fear in you...could it be earlier in life you had problems of bullying and insults...ah!!!! yes...you turd headed, abusive "TROLL"
[quote][p][bold]Dean M[/bold] wrote: Fat, ugly, old, grey AND ginger, Labour MP. . What is there to be depressed about?[/p][/quote]lie down on my couch... ah!! i see a deep down fear in you...could it be earlier in life you had problems of bullying and insults...ah!!!! yes...you turd headed, abusive "TROLL" the-big-yin

4:24pm Sat 16 Jun 12

rufus100 says...

Sure one can sympathise with many who suffer depression.
The cause/s may be more readily solved than we think.......
However, belonging to Labour, one would have every reason to be depressed! Not least with a Unite Leader -the whole country should be depressed!
Sure one can sympathise with many who suffer depression. The cause/s may be more readily solved than we think....... However, belonging to Labour, one would have every reason to be depressed! Not least with a Unite Leader -the whole country should be depressed! rufus100

8:29pm Sat 16 Jun 12

Dean M says...

the-big-yin wrote:
"you turd-headed, abusive Troll"
.
'turd-headed' - I assume that's an abusive term? Ignorance is bliss, and I suspect you're blissfully unaware that you're an ignorant, abusive t1t.
the-big-yin wrote: "you turd-headed, abusive Troll" . 'turd-headed' - I assume that's an abusive term? Ignorance is bliss, and I suspect you're blissfully unaware that you're an ignorant, abusive t1t. Dean M

11:16am Sun 17 Jun 12

dawn patrol says...

Its great to see so much tollerance and sympathy from dean. m, i should think having anythink to do with anyone like him would make anybody depressed.
Its great to see so much tollerance and sympathy from dean. m, i should think having anythink to do with anyone like him would make anybody depressed. dawn patrol

11:44am Sun 17 Jun 12

BeverleyWM says...

Well said Dawn patrol :)

Hold your head high Kevan. You should be commended for having the guts to say that you have suffered with depression.
Well said Dawn patrol :) Hold your head high Kevan. You should be commended for having the guts to say that you have suffered with depression. BeverleyWM

3:41pm Sun 17 Jun 12

planetqwerty says...

Pity a cynical (though amusing in its own way) response from one "Dean M" has nearly hijacked this discussion so far. A desire for attention hopefully now satisfied.

But back to the topic in question: Kevan Jones has gone public with his experience of depression. A laudable act. But how come he felt he couldn't seek help when it happened?

Perhaps this speaks volumes:

“Whether my having made this admission will mean that the possibility of any future ministerial career is blighted for ever for me, I do not know.”
Pity a cynical (though amusing in its own way) response from one "Dean M" has nearly hijacked this discussion so far. A desire for attention hopefully now satisfied. But back to the topic in question: Kevan Jones has gone public with his experience of depression. A laudable act. But how come he felt he couldn't seek help when it happened? Perhaps this speaks volumes: “Whether my having made this admission will mean that the possibility of any future ministerial career is blighted for ever for me, I do not know.” planetqwerty

8:49pm Mon 2 Jul 12

Mooochas says...

Lol! - Dean Moron winning more hearts and minds... ;o)
Lol! - Dean Moron winning more hearts and minds... ;o) Mooochas

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