Leading Tory MSP discusses her Mental Health
September 21, 2018
By: Jenna Rachid, Eloise Cadman and Alex Youngs
Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson has opened up about her mental health.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, she revealed her battle with depression started when she was 17.
She also described in her book ‘Yes She Can’ that she started to self-harm.
According to the Sunday Times, she was diagnosed with clinical depression a year later, but said the medication meant she had ‘dark, terrible dreams’ and ‘couldn’t tell what was real’.
Davidson said she combated her mental health issues by exercising regularly, moderating her alcohol intake, going back to church, and ‘most importantly to me, I threw away my pills.’
Davidson hasn’t suffered a significant depressive episode since 2006, but monitors her mental health closely.
When asked whether she would consider the role of prime minister Davidson said: ‘You have to want it, and I don’t want to be prime minister.’ This follows previous comment she made in 2016, when she described the role of being PM as ‘the loneliest job in the world’.
Universities minister Sam Gyimah has written to university heads, calling for students mental health to be a top priority.
According to The Independent, as freshers week gets underway Gyimah urged vice chancellors, to ‘not only commit to “student’s education” – but to also focus on the “immediate” change of student mental health in the sector.’
The universities ministers call comes as ten students from the University of Bristol and two students from the University of West England (UWE) have reportedly passed away in the last two years. Some of these deaths have been confirmed as suicides.
In his letter Gyimah writes: ‘With the new academic year upon us, I’m sure you would agree that good mental health and wellbeing underpins successful participation and attainment.’
‘Collectively, we must prioritise the wellbeing and mental health of our students – there is no negotiation on this. To make this happen, leadership from the top is essential.’
Early this year the government announced a University Mental Health Charter in Bristol, it is set to open in 2019/2020 and establish high standards in promoting students mental health. But the universities minster believes ‘we should be acting now.’
He added: ‘I expect high standards to be set within the Charter that will require each university’s senior leadership team to deliver positive change.’
Martin says: ‘Some common signs include a general sense that they are not their normal selves. Specifically, feelings of sadness and hopelessness, increased stress, and a diminished interest in the things and activities they normally enjoy’.
An increase in sleep, alcohol and drug consumption and changes of appetite are some physical signs to look out for.
Martin explains that there are multiple symptoms that can show someone is struggling. He encourages the habit of meaningful conversations to keep in tune with those around you.
How do you approach a person who may be struggling? Martin says to ask a question, ‘is everything ok?’ From this point, listen. Do not try to problem solve, encourage action and applaud them for having courage to speak up.
Recommend concentrating on wellness and speaking to an expert. Make sure to check in every week or so to see how they are doing. ‘You do not need to be an expert to start a life-changing conversation.’
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