Labour’s Nadia Whittome back in Commons after mental health leave

Labour’s Nadia Whittome back in Commons after mental health leave
Courtesy: Twitter

A British Indian member of Parliament, the youngest MP in the House of Commons who spoke out openly about her “mental health struggle” as she took time off her parliamentary work for mental health reasons earlier this year, said she’s excited to be back in the House of Commons this week.

Nadia Whittome, born in the UK to a Punjabi father, represents her birthplace of Nottingham in central England for the Opposition Labour Party since her win in the December 2019 General Election. The 25-year-old announced on social media that she is making a "good recovery" and “feeling well” to resume her work in time for Parliament being reconvened after its summer recess.

She said: “Thank you sincerely for all your support and understanding during my leave of absence. The response was truly humbling. I’m excited to be back.”

The young MP said she had felt encouraged by all the support she had received as others shared their experience of mental health struggles and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) like her.

“I was glad to hear that my decision to be open about my diagnosis could in some small way help other people to be open about theirs. But awareness alone is not enough. I was privileged to be able to take time off work to get better, but that should be a right for everyone, not a privilege,” she said.

“We need full sick pay, wages people can live on in the first place, and stronger worker rights, so that everyone who needs to take time off work can. And, that is what I will be fighting for now I’m back,” she declared.

Her boss, Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer, shared the video with the message “we’re all delighted to have you back, Nadia”.

In May, Whittome took to social media to announce her decision to take time off and said she felt it was important for her to be honest that it is mental ill-health she is suffering from – specifically PTSD.

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“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 said at the time.

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