One in five MPs on meds for depression, claims Andrew Robb — (The Australian)

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The Australian

From: News Limited newspapers

September 08, 2011

LIBERAL frontbencher Andrew Robb claims 20 per cent of those in Federal Parliament are using antidepressants.

The Opposition Finance spokesman, who suffers a form of depression, said yesterday in Adelaide the high pressure of political life caused depressive illnesses.

“I do know that at least 20 per cent of the Parliament are taking some sort of antidepressant medication,” he told The Australian.

“I don’t know who they are, but I know they are. I certainly think for people who are under a lot of stress, like politicians or senior ministers, a lot thrive on that. But others who get a lot of stress, well that can cause a depressive condition.”

Mr Robb made the comments at the South Australian Press Club, where he spoke and answered questions about the challenges of managing depression and life in the Liberal Party.

He was in Adelaide to promote his book, Black Dog Daze – Public Life, Private Demons, on the same day as Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher was back in court charged with shoplifting and assault.

Mr Robb said the Senator had a condition similar to his diurnal variation illness, but her anxious moments lasted longer than his.

“When she wakes up, she is in this dark mood,” he said.

“She did seek me out a bit over a year ago. I’ve given her as much support as I can.

“She has panic attacks. I have never had a situation like hers (criminal charges), although I must say that I felt the first time I took a certain medication it was the worst four weeks of my life.

“I would sit in my office for hours looking at the walls – you have to almost be on suicide watch. I was just a mess.”

Read more on Andrew Robb’s story at The Australian.

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