Nadia Whittome

I thought I would write a little about Nadia Whittome. ‘Who?’ you might ask. Well in two ways at least she is a remarkable woman. Firstly, in 2019 she was elected the Member of Parliament for Nottingham East at the tender age of just 23. This made her the youngest MP, also known as the Baby of the House.

But for me a far most impressive feat was that in May 2021, she announced that she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and would be taking a leave of absence. I think this is just the most tremendous example for those struggling with mental health issues. There is still a great deal of stigma associated with mental health. So to see someone as high profile as her making her struggles known, and publicly doing the right thing by taking a break, is so beneficial.

It is thought that one in four people suffer some form of mental health issue each year. And her actions were praised by the Chief Executive of leading mental health charity, Rethink Mental Illness, Mark Winstanley. He said, “The enduring stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace can be hugely damaging, preventing people from accessing support and leading them to prioritise work over their own wellbeing for fear of judgment. Being signed off from work for poor mental health is not a sign of weakness, but a recognition that wellbeing should always be a priority. We welcome Nadia’s openness around her diagnosis and wish her well in her recovery.”

Embed from Getty Images

Kier Starmer (Leader of the Labour party) hoped she would “…gets well soon”, and added, “I respect Nadia’s bravery in speaking openly about her mental health and I look forward to welcoming her back to parliament”. While Jeremy Corbyn, (Former Labour leader) described her as “…bold and brave”. He tweeted, “By being honest about looking after her #MentalHealth she helps all those who are struggling”.

Sadly not everyone was as sympathetic. The blog site Guido Fawkes commented, “…she needs to take a break from parliament due to PTSD. Parliament may be daunting though nothing akin to the trenches of the First World War. The shells lobbed on social media may ruin your day, they don’t kill”.

Keen to return to work, she was advised by her GP that the NHS waiting lists for treatment ran to many months and so was forced to use private healthcare to get timely treatment. She commented, “It just highlighted everything that needs to change; everybody should have access to the best treatment for whatever the condition is, and be able to access it quickly. I know from the casework how many people are waiting months, years even”.

In September 2021, she was able to return to her duties in the House of Commons. Speaking on her return she said, “I’ve thought a lot about whether to speak about the causes of my PTSD, and I decided that it wouldn’t help my recovery. But I will go as far as saying it was caused by extremely traumatic events that were entirely unconnected to my work as an MP, politics or parliament”.

So if you, or someone you know, has struggled following a traumatic event, then seek help. Regardless of the severity of the symptoms or how long ago the trauma occurred there is help available. More severe cases can be successfully treated by psychotherapies, while milder symptoms can be treated with Hypnotherapy. If you contact me, I will carry out a free initial consultation to discuss with you what symptom you have and how I can help.  

Comments are closed.