Sadiq Khan says death threats, disasters and terror attacks gave him PTSD

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he has suffered mental trauma after dealing with regular death threats, disasters and terror attacks.

Describing it as a "cumulative" type of post-traumatic stress disorder, the former government minister stressed he was not equating it with that faced by refugees or people who have had similar extreme experiences.

Mr Khan, who will seek a third term as London mayor next year and hopes to serve many more times, also spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic had also impacted his mental health, revealing how he "lost his mojo" during lockdown.

In the face of threats made against him, heightened after being attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump, Mr Khan said he needed "the same level of protection the prime minister and the King receive".

On top of this came the stresses of dealing with the aftermath of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire and terror attacks in London.

Mr Khan said he suffered from PTSD "without a doubt".

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: "One of my best friends is a doctor and we talk about it.

"I think the phrase is cumulative.

"By the way, I'm not comparing what I am going through to some of the stuff people go through - as a lawyer my clients with PTSD were asylum seekers and refugees. I would never give equivalence to what I am going through, nor would I ever want people to feel sorry for me.

"I'm very privileged to do the job I do."

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He added: "By the way, if this means I'm a snowflake, so be it, right? Mental health is fragile if it's not looked after. And I shouldn't be afraid to talk about it."

Referring to the threats he has faced, Mr Khan pointed to the attack at the Finsbury Park mosque in 2017.

The 52-year-old said: "The terrorist was looking for me.

"He couldn't find me so he decided to target Jeremy Corbyn and Muslims.

"Every time Trump says something horrible about me there's a massive increase in hatred towards me on social media.

"Then there are people who follow Daesh (Islamic State) and al Qaida who think you can't be a Muslim and a westerner, I get it from both sides in relation to the death threats."

'I wasn't so sparky'

Mr Khan also admitted he had struggled during the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "I lost my mojo. I didn't have clarity of thinking. I wasn't so sparky. I wasn't inspiring my team."

Having held the capital's top job since 2016, Mr Khan is seeking re-election in 2024 and told The Guardian he ultimately hopes to serve six terms.

He has written a book called Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency, which details his goal to make London a cleaner city.