Manitoba politician reveals ‘sense of hopelessness’ in candid story of recent mental health struggles

A Manitoba politician spoke through tears as he shared details of his recent mental health struggles in front of other members of the province’s legislature on Thursday.

“For the past two months, I felt like I was dead inside. I was just going through the motions of my day and smiling,” MP Bob Lagassé said in a virtual appearance, the trembling voice.

He told the Legislature he would often get into his truck at the start and end of the day and break down in tears, unable to get rid of the frequent ‘dark thoughts of self-harm’ he had for no clear reason. .

“This feeling of despair followed me everywhere like Eeyore and his cloud,” Lagassé said.

Lagassé is the Progressive Conservative representative for Manitoba’s Dawson Trail riding, just east of Winnipeg.

Looking back, he said he realized that his difficulties were caused by several factors that were accumulating and that his untreated depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) played a major role. .

“As men, we’ve been told since we were young, ‘You gotta stop, stop being a sissy, and men don’t cry.

“All of these statements are lies, and I’m here to tell you that asking for help doesn’t make you weak. You don’t have to live without it,” he said, a single tear rolling down his face. play.

“And it’s OK to cry.”

Lagassé said he wants to raise awareness about mental health issues and continue to tackle his own problem head-on with the help of his doctor, friends and family. This family includes Andrea, his wife of 25 years and their five children, his site says.

He said he decided to seek professional help after a recent statement to the legislature about mental health.

Message of hope, reminder to be kind

Lagassé ended his speech with two messages. One was for others struggling with their own mental health.

“If you find yourself today feeling worse than you are, I am here to tell you that you are important and loved,” he said.

“You are here for a purpose. The tattooed semicolon on my thumb reminds me that my story is not over yet, and neither is yours.

“I want to encourage you to talk to your doctor, a friend, a family member, or someone you trust.”

His other message was for his fellow members of the legislature.

“Be kind to each other. Be uplifting, be honest. In this environment of political theater, we tend to be harmful to our own mental health and that of others,” he said.

“And remember, it’s OK to not be OK. But what’s not OK is to go through it alone.”

Standing ovation, messages of support

Lagassé’s statement was met with a standing ovation that lasted over 20 seconds.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew thanked the MP for sharing his experience.

“We want you to be okay. We appreciate you. We know you’re hurt, but we have your back,” Kinew said as his party members nodded behind him.

“Reach out at all times. And if reaching out to the Leader of the Opposition isn’t the easiest thing for a PC member to do, I’m sure everyone in the room feels the same.” and would take your call.”

Premier Heather Stefanson also praised Lagassé for speaking out about his mental health issues.

“It’s not easy to stand in front of us and make that kind of statement,” she said.

“I’m so incredibly proud of you, just like [I said in] the memo I sent to you earlier, and many of the memos you receive from members of the House. Thank you for all you do – and we’re here for you, my friend.”


If you or someone you know is having trouble, here’s where to get help:

If you’re concerned that someone you know is at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs:

  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Without any goal.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Despair and helplessness.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Anger.
  • Carelessness.
  • Mood changes.

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