Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

My Battle with Depression: MP Speaks out in Commons ; Withington's Jeff Smith Uses Mental Health Debate to Talk about 'Overwhelming' Illness

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

My Battle with Depression: MP Speaks out in Commons ; Withington's Jeff Smith Uses Mental Health Debate to Talk about 'Overwhelming' Illness

Article excerpt

AMANCHESTER MP has used a Westminster mental health debate to bravely reveal his battle with depression - calling it an 'overwhelming weight' that was hard to fully describe.

Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Withington, used a moving speech in the House of Commons to demand ministers to give mental health the priority it deserves.

He told of mental health crises among his friends and family, before outlining the 'debilitating' nature of his own depression.

Mr Smith was one of several Greater Manchester MPs - including Simon Danczuk, Jonathan Reynolds and Angela Rayner - to speak during the dedicated debate, all calling for parity between physical and mental health. Several highlighted the current crisis within Manchester's mental health trust, which was being scrutinised over its plans for Pounds 1.5m in cuts at the same time as the parliamentary debate was taking place.

But Mr Smith chose to make his own personal experiences the centre of his speech, stressing he was one of 'many millions of people' across the country with similar stories.

"I have my own personal experience of mental ill health," he told the chamber. "Like other members -- I think that there are probably a number of us -- I have suffered from depression. …

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