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David Seymour, Apologise For Telling Those With Mental Illnesses To "Harden Up"

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Dear Mr. Seymour,

While I and the residents of Weir House throughly enjoyed 'Politician's Corner" as it was a chance to hear MPs speak, one of your comments particularly stuck out to me.  When asked about depression and anxiety among students, your response was to tell a room filled with students, some of whom have suffered with mental illness, to "harden up." This was followed up by a later discussion I had with you, where you expressed the same sentiment. 

Mr. Seymour, in the hopes you will read this, I will give you some facts about depression and anxiety from the Mental Health Foundation. Depression is characterised by a persistent low mood, which sucks the enjoyment out of everyday activities. Anxiety is all-consuming worry and fear. These lead to irritable moods, loss or increase of appetite, fatigue, change in sleeping patterns and in the most serve cases suicidal thoughts or suicide. These are caused by a lack of serotonin being produced in the brain. It is not a choice, because who would choose to live like that? One cannot simply "harden up" and get over it. This is only covering two out of the many other mental illnesses that exist, and I would hate to think about how you feel those people should deal with what they have to go through. 

What I, and everyone else who signs this petition, want from you is an apology. Not only to me and to everyone else in the room who has suffered with mental illness, who I know for a fact you have harmed with your comment, but to the 1 in 6 New Zealanders who suffer from a common mental disorder. They're very real, and they affect all areas of daily life for those who suffer from them. 

If you're reading this, Mr. Seymour, I sincerely hope you have listened to what is being said. Take the time to consider how harmful your "harden up" stance is to those who struggle with mental illness, and apologise for your comments. 

To the others who are reading this, please take a moment to sign this petition. It is important that public figures are educated on issues such as mental illness, and by starting with one MP maybe we could begin a discussion around this taboo subject. 

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