Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman has been hailed by the First Minister for “bravely” opening up about the pressures on her mental health during lockdown.
The SNP politician announced on Wednesday that she has stood down as the party’s deputy leader in Westminster after three years in the role to focus on her family, mental health and constituency work.
Speaking during her daily briefing on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Blackman had “very bravely” and to her “immense credit” shared the pressures she had felt on her mental health during lockdown.
She added: “I would pay tribute to her, she’s a fantastic, talented politician but I think it’s really good that politicians do speak out about the trials and tribulations that we all have.
“I know sometimes it’s difficult for people to accept that we are all human beings suffering from the same stresses and strains as others.”
When asked during the briefing about how she herself was faring on a personal level, the First Minister said was “doing fine” but added she had been “very busy” and “a bit tired sometimes.
She added: “But I’ve got a job to do and I’m getting on with doing it to the best of my ability, trying to keep focused on that.”
Ms Sturgeon said that “hopefully”, as the country starts to ease lockdown measures, this will lessen some of the pressure on people’s lives but said she was “very mindful” that this will get replaced by “worries” about jobs, the economy and living standards.
In a statement, Ms Blackman, who will continue to represent Aberdeen North after first being elected to the seat in 2015, said like “many others” she had struggled with the impact that lockdown has had on her mental health.
I strongly believe that people must be able to talk openly about mental health issues, which affect so many of us. I look forward to continuing my work for Aberdeen North and standing up for Scotland at Westminster.
— Kirsty Blackman (@KirstySNP) July 1, 2020
The 34-year-old has been open about her mental health in the past, tweeting in 2017 that “talking about depression is hard”.
She added: “I’m lucky that I managed to get through the worst times of my depression and got help and had support.”
The SNP’s parliamentary party will hold an election in the coming weeks to replace Ms Blackman.