25 February 2013
WILL Duckworth, Green Party Deputy Leader, has spoken openly about his mental health experiences.
Mr Duckworth addressed a small meeting at the Green Party Spring Conference, which had been called to discuss the Party's plans to challenge mental health discrimination and stigma.
He said: 'I have bipolar condition. It is normally called bipolar disorder but in my case it is more of a blessing than a curse. I have been a teacher for thirty years including twenty as head of maths in a comprehensive school and am now a Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
'I was diagnosed as having manic depression more than thirty years ago. Since then I have had just two manic episodes. I do not take any pills for the condition and am in control of the situation and I can schedule my depressions, so they do not interfere with my work.
'I recognise that many people suffer greatly from the condition but for me it is simply that most of the time I am happy and very friendly but every six weeks or so I have to go through a few hours of deep depression and I can even control when that happens.
'Many of you may have seen the ‘It’s Time To Talk’ campaign currently in the national media, aiming to encourage people to speak about their mental health, to help other people understand the issues and help destigmatise mental health conditions.
'I have chosen to speak out about this because I want to help to dispel the myths and fear that surround any type of mental health issues.
'As one in four of the population suffer from mental health issues at some time then it means that a quarter of us are personally affected.
'That means that there are probably more than 150 of our MPs and 200 members of the House of Lords who have mental health issues but are restrained from telling people about it.
'Many of us have spent years hiding the fact, but now is time for this oppressed minority to ‘come out’.
'Mental health issues can affect anyone and it certainly does not prevent people from performing well in all sorts of careers but the knowledge that someone has suffered can often prevent them from getting a job.'
After the meeting, he added: 'I'm speaking out now because it's time to change. It's time to be open. If you had a broken leg you wouldn't try to hide it, and this is no different. It's time to be open and honest. And I would like to thank everyone here, and the Green Party as a whole for creating an atmosphere which is comfortable enough for me to say what I have said.'
The Time to Change organisational pledge that Natalie and David signed on Saturday (Time to Change have posted it on their website here: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/news/green-party-sign-our-pledge )