34% of politicians show signs of ‘psychological disturbance or mental ill health’ – study

Job insecurity, cyberbullying and even fears of being attacked and stalked, all add up to an extremely high pressured lifestyle.

There may finally be an explanation for some of the bizarre behaviour exhibited by our local politicians both online and in front of the cameras after a recent study found politicians are 26 per cent more likely to report feeling depressed, worthless or stressed than the average person.

The team at Kings College London explained that job insecurity, cyberbullying and even fears of being attacked and stalked, all add up to an extremely high pressured lifestyle, even before the actual workload is factored in.

The study was conducted by Nicole Votruba, a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Conservative MP Dan Poulter in Britain and involved all 650 members of the House of Commons completing an anonymous survey on their mental health in 2016. This was compared against the results of the 2014 Health Survey, where 7,871 people from across England completed the same questionnaire.

The survey asked questions like to what extent the participants were struggling to concentrate, sleep or enjoy day-to-day activities. Scores were grouped, with those coming in with a score of four or more suggesting “probable psychological disturbance or mental ill health”. A total of 34% of responding politicians had scores higher than four.

The politicians scored worse in the categories of concentration, losing sleep, feeling useless, struggling to cope and being under constant strain. Compared to the public, the politicians also struggled to overcome difficulties, enjoy day-to-day activities and face up to their problems. They were more likely to report low confidence, depression and worthlessness, the research found.

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