Labour's Nadia Whittome takes leave suffering from PTSD

Labour’s Nadia Whittome, Britain’s youngest MP, announces she is suffering from PTSD and taking ‘several weeks’ of leave from Commons

  • Labour’s Nadia Whittome said she is taking ‘several weeks’ leave from Commons
  • 24-year-old said she has been diagnosed with PTSD and needs time to recover
  • Keir Starmer wished Nottingham East MP ‘all the best’ and praised her ‘bravery’ 

Britain’s youngest MP today announced she is taking ‘several weeks’ away from work after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Labour’s Nadia Whittome, who represents Nottingham East, said she had realised it is not ‘feasible’ to manage her condition alongside full-time work.

Sir Keir Starmer said he wished the 24-year-old ‘all the best’ and respected her ‘bravery’ in speaking out about her mental health.  

Ms Whittome was elected at the December 2019 election aged just 23, becoming the Baby of the House. 

The details of her condition are not known, but she has previously spoken about receiving online abuse since entering Parliament. 

Labour’s Nadia Whittome, who represents Nottingham East, said she had realised it is not ‘feasible’ to manage her condition alongside full-time work

In a statement explaining why she had disclosed the nature of her illness, she said: ‘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.’

She added: ‘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.’ 

Ms Whittome thanked Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer and his political secretary Jenny Chapman for their ‘kindness’ and added that her staff would continue to support constituents .

Sir Keir 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.’

The chief executive of a leading mental health charity praised Ms Whittome’s transparency.

Mark Winstanley, from 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 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.’

Ms Whittome is taking ‘several weeks’ away from the Commons (file picture) as she works on recovery

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