SNP MP Kirsty Blackman speaks about ‘battling with the black dog of depression’

Elizabeth Arnold, PA Political Staff
·2-min read

An MP has spoken about “battling with the black dog of depression”, urging people to reach out to those “not being themselves”.

Appearing in person in the Commons after more than a year, SNP Kirsty Blackman said it was “hugely important that all of our constituents understand that they’re not battling this alone, there are so many of us”.

The Aberdeen North’s comments were commended by Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing, who said: “I’m sure the whole House will have heard what (she) said and she’s courageous to give her advice here in the chamber and people would do well to listen to her advice and we’re glad to see her back.”

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Ms Blackman, the SNP’s former deputy Westminster leader, told MPs: “This is the first time that I’ve stood in this House to speak since January 2020. During the past year and a bit, like so many of our constituents, I’ve been battling with the black dog of depression and I know that so many people have so I crave your indulgence for a small moment.

“Please, if you know somebody who is not being themselves recently, reach out to them, ask them if they’re OK, let them know it’s OK to not be OK.
Offer them help, but most importantly, let them know that you are there when they’re ready to talk or if they’re ready to talk.

“I think it’s hugely important that all of our constituents understand that they’re not battling this alone, there are so many of us.”

Speaking after her, Treasury minister Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) said: “I think it’s absolutely in order and right for her to bring this very, very important issue back to the House, to do so in such a personal way only gives it additional force.”

“I doubt there is a member of this House whose own life has not been affected in one way or another, either by the concern she describes, personal, the black dog, depression, however it may be or their own family or friends.”