Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome is to take ‘several weeks off’ from her duties as she faces an ongoing battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In a statement, the MP, who represents parts of Mapperley, said: “Over recent months, I have been battling some persistent health issues. Until now, I have been attempting to manage them alongside continuing with my full time work as an MP. Unfortunately, it has become clear that this is not feasible and I have been advised by my doctor that I need to take several weeks off in order for my health to improve.
“I feel it is important for me to be honest that it is mental ill-health I am suffering from – specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One in four people will experience mental health problems each year, but there is still a great deal of shame and stigma surrounding it.
“Through being open about my own mental health struggle, I hope that others will also feel able to talk about theirs, and that I can play a small role in creating greater acceptance and facilitating healthier discussions around this issue.
“My decision to take time off has been an incredibly difficult one to make. Representing Nottingham East is the greatest honour of my life and I am very sad to have to step back for a little while. I am thankful for the understanding and kindness that Keir Starmer, Jenny Chapman and the Labour Whips have shown and their support in enabling me to take this course of action.
“While I am away, constituents should continue to contact my office as normal. My fantastic staff team will still be there to support you with any issues you may have.
“I cannot wait to come back to the job I love, representing the community that means so much to me.
“Thank you in advance for your understanding.”
Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer praised the MP for raising awareness of the condition.
He said: “I wish Nadia all the best and hope she gets well soon. I respect Nadia’s bravery in speaking openly about her mental health and I look forward to welcoming her back to Parliament.”
Mark Winstanley, chief executive at Rethink Mental Illness, 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 judgement.
“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.”