'All politicians should seek psychiatric help,' says Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell

Mr Campbell had suggested to Tony Blair that he use his psychiatrist

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Indy Politics

Every politician in Britain should be seeking the help of mental health professionals, according to former Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

Consulting psychiatrists would ease stress – with the elections less than three months away – and would develop cognitive and emotional control skills needed to become better leaders, he said.

Mr Campbell also revealed that he urged Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to seek couples’ counselling when their working relationship disintegrated – but the prime minister rejected the idea.

He claims that Labour lost power after 13 years because the two leaders had failed to work together as a team.

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Brown and Blair should have sought couples' counselling, said Campbell

After Mr Campbell suggested the services of a psychiatrist who had helped him cope with depression in the run-up to the 2005 election, he claims that Mr Blair said: “I am prepared to think out of the box. But not that far.”

In his new book Winners and How They Succeed, Mr Campbell argues that modern politicians are less effective leaders than senior sport and business professionals.

He says that this is because psychologists are routinely employed to improve performance in those sectors, in the book being serialised by The Sunday Times.

“If you look at the best of elite sport, it does stuff better than the best of business, and the best of business does it better than the best of politics,” Mr Campbell told the newspaper.

Alastair Campbell used a psychiatrist to help cope with depression

“Sport is predominantly a physical activity, and yet hardly any of these top sports guys go without proper psychological support. And yet politics, which is primarily intellectual, mental, psychological - most of them don’t have any psychological support at all.”

Politicians are afraid of seeing mental health and performance professionals due to the possible stigma it may carry and seeing headlines such as “Cameron has a shrink,” he said.

The former director of communications for Mr Blair said that he hired Andy McCann, a mental skills coach to the Wales rugby team, to help him prepare for his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War.