Will Sandry, a Liberal Democrat Cllr on Bath and North East Somerset, has announced that he is taking a minimum of 3 month leave to give himself time to address what he describes as his “depressive illness”.
Will has had the deeply difficult situation of having what is essentially a personal and private issue forced into the public light. The silver lining is that people have, so far at least, responded with empathy and support even in the usually rancid comments section of the local paper.
Will’s honesty about his illness will no doubt make a small difference to people in and around Bath. It will help raise awareness of the nature and severity of depression (about one in ten of us will be affected by clinical depression at some point in our lives although the symptoms of this can vary massively – statistically that is around 8,000 of Bath’s 80,000 residents).
My heart goes out to Will because I have seen the impact depression can have on people’s lives and I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must be to then have to air your own depression publicly for people to pick over and worry about.
I often feel a twinge of unease when private matters such as a divorce are mulled over in public. This feeling is somehow amplified when the private matter is a condition the person has no control over and which leaves them feeling vulnerable and out of sorts anyway.
In light of this I have no idea how Will is feeling at the moment but I send him my heartfelt best wishes for the coming months.