Australian ex-PM Morrison reveals anxiety struggle – BBC News

  • By Hannah Ritchie
  • BBC News, Sydney

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Screenshot, Morrison says he wants to make it clear that politicians struggling with mental health can still perform at a high level.

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed he sought treatment for debilitating anxiety during his time in office.

In a new book, Morrison points to “sheer physical exhaustion” and the “relentless, callous brutality of politics” as central to their struggles.

He said he was sharing his story to “destigmatize” mental illness.

“My doctor was surprised it had lasted so long,” Morrison writes in an excerpt published by The Australian.

“Without this help, serious depression would have set in.

“Politicians are not made of stone, but they are often treated as if they are, even among themselves,” he continued.

Morrison, a Conservative who led Australia from 2018 to 2022, wrote on social media that he wanted to “normalize” something that was “very common for many Australians.”

He also told ABC News that he wanted to make clear that politicians who suffer from mental illness can still perform at a high level.

“Because I sought help, I was fully functional. [It is] It is important that people understand that this does not have to be a deterrent. I came to Aukus in the middle of this,” Morrison said, referring to a defense pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The 55-year-old father of two joins a growing cohort of world leaders who have opened up about similar issues, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who opened up about her struggle with burnout, and Morrison’s predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, who revealed in a memoir that he had experienced suicidal thoughts in 2009.

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While in the top job, Morrison oversaw Australia’s response to the pandemic, the 2019-20 bushfire crisis, and became embroiled in a historic scandal for secretly appointing himself to several ministerial positions.

In January he retired from politics after 17 years of public service, to join the private sector.

His departure had long been expected after a crushing election defeat to Labor’s Anthony Albanese in 2022, which left the Liberal-National coalition with the lowest number of seats in its history.

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