Nick Clegg has said there should be no “blanket rules” preventing people from undertaking certain roles of employment because they have a history of mental health problems.
Speaking to reporters aboard the Liberal Democrats campaign battle bus, the Deputy Prime Minister made reference to Germanwings crash pilot Andreas Lubitz, who investigators believe suffered from suicidal tendencies before he deliberately caused the disaster.
“I think it's very important that we don't, however understandable in this context, allow what is said about one individual to shape or colour the way in which we regard people who go through episodes of mental health problems,” he said.
“That's been one of the great problems, the stigma around mental health, which is because people are either frightened or embarrassed about mental health problems they tend to keep their distance from people who have had mental health problems, when it happens to so many individuals.
“We certainly don't want to see people with mental health problems deliberately or otherwise shut out of work. That would be consigning a lot of people to a cycle of despair, which would be wholly unfair and wholly unjust.”
Quotes on depression
Quotes on depression
1/14 Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell: "One day, we will look back and wonder how on earth we used to believe that depression was a lifestyle choice, only to be debated and taken seriously when an A List film star took his life, and the world filled with people saying how shocked and saddened they were. "
2/14 On living with depression
Stephen Fry: "Depression is as real as the weather…it’s all about a kind of mental umbrella. 'Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.'"
3/14 On living with depression
Ernest Hemingway: "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." (He also said "happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know")
4/14 On living with depression
Jonathan Davis: "A lot of people don't realize that depression is an illness. I don't wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it."
5/14 On passing judgement on depression
Geoffrey Boycott: "Until you've had depression I don't think you're qualified to talk about it."
6/14 Jack Dee
Jack Dee: "I have had issues with depression all my life, and it's probably true to say there was a tendency towards it even when I was very young, during my schooldays. There was often - and this is quite common with comics - a sense of not feeling as if I belonged anywhere."
7/14 On living with depression
Jason Manford: "The world needs you even if you don't think it does. I promise, we need you here, now."
8/14 Author Jeanette Winterson
Art saved me; it got me through my depression and self-loathing, back to a place of innocence.
9/14 On life and depression
Agatha Christie: "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing."
10/14 On living with depression
Albert Camus: "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
11/14 On dealing with low mood
Dolly Parton "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
12/14 If you're feeling depressed right now..
Annabel Giles: "If you’re depressed right now, then let's remember that we only have to do today, that's all. Nothing more. We can do just a day, can't we? And don’t forget, we haven't always been like this. The good days will come back. We've just go to do as much as we can, when we can."
13/14 Helen Keller on looking for the positive
Helen Keller: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
14/14 On it happening to all of us
Mariella Frostrup: "Only those with skin as thick as elephant hide can hope to sail through their teens unscathed by self-doubt and bouts of depression."
Questioned over whether he felt pilots who have struggled with mental ill health in the past specifically should not be allowed to fly as a result, Clegg responded: “It's for employers in different walks of life to decide what requirements they ask of people who they employ and different jobs have different levels of physical and mental qualification attached to them.
“But I dont think, as a blanket rule, the fact that someone has had mental health problems should automatically disqualify them from certain jobs. That would be not treating people as individuals, instead treating people in an indiscriminately broad-brush way.”
He added that the umbrella of mental health presents “such a huge category” of different problems, ranging from “episodes of psychosis” to “stress and anxiety”, that it would be inappropriate to dismiss them all.
“A bipolar condition is quite different to an eating disorder as a teenager.
“My plea would be let's treat people like individual human beings who have individual and specific physical health problems.
“What I hope we can do is, over time as a society, talk with the same level of sophistication about different mental health problems as we do about different physical health problems.”
He trails Labour by two points in his constituency, according to the latest survey of marginal constituencies by pollster Lord Ashcroft.Reuse content