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Could a Mentally Ill person run for Parliament? [Opinions Wanted]

Community Member

The question sounds antagonistic but that's how the media would portray it, I wouldn't expect politically correct treatment. Lets be honest here.

So what got me thinking (obsessively) about this is firstly that I have Depression, and it's severe, enough so that I'm unable to work (details are personal). Which right away, is that disqualifying? Or would that be discriminatory? Anyway, the second thing was the Myers Briggs Personality Test told me I'm an INFJ and the description was like reading an autobiography, it was scary. It's too much info to go into but one of the characteristics is wanting to fix society's problems. It's gotten me thinking about possibilities, and whether or not somebody with a mental illness could even run for a public office. And what better community to ask for realistic opinions?

Personally, the thought of me doing it feels crazy, literally. And stupid, and naive. I have no qualifications or experience, just ideals. Then you see just how ineffectual the government and opposition are and that's just accepted as normal, and that seems even crazier. Why don't we have anyone fighting against the corruption, the media bias, and total lack of policy direction? Where's the push for progress? Climate action, UBI, expand Medicare to include Mental and Dental health, Reconciliation, there's no fight for anything. Where's the Aussie Bernie Sanders? Is the whole world crazy or is it just me?

So, thoughts? Opinions? Please speak freely.

6 Replies 6

Community Member
Some things to consider before entering the lions den that is politics; it is a brutal game. Your every action and lack of action will be scrutinised mercilessly. You will be under a constant microscopic of media attention the whole time. If you do something right, don't expect any credit for it. But if you do something wrong expect to be blamed for it and everything else that is wrong in the world. This is kind of why depression is known as a celebrities disease, because famous people are under constant scrutiny. Let me ask you one question; Do you feel comfortable speaking in public? If you answered no, I would consider not taking on this venture. Not yet anyway. If your depression is as severe as you say, I believe it may hinder you from engaging in politics. I would maybe wait til you are a little bit better. For the time being practice public speaking. Practice busking and getting verbally abused by complete strangers. Because that is a small fraction of what you will have to put up with in politics. It is a real shame because we need more people running the country who have actually experienced different aspects of life. Not just the a bunch of private school educated wannabe lawyers who maybe did a stint at Starbucks, when they were in university.

I am aware there are a lot of obstacles in the way, many of them being my own shortcomings (such as public speaking), that would need to be overcome. I'm trying to keep my thinking realistic, which is why I seek and appreciate input such as yours. Thank you. I really feel like my ideals are underrepresented, pretty much always, and want to see change.

Community Member
why not i mean depression can be at the rate of 1 in 4 i think that means they are in Parliament

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Rohlan,

Thank you for your interesting question and starting this conversation. Infj here too!

I absolutely believe that a mentally ill person can run for parliament. The statistics of mental illness in Australia means that there's likely people in parliament with a mental illness anyway; it's just that the majority of time we don't know about it, although just echoing amberlite too.

I also agree with Weaponsofmassdisstortion28 in that it would be a brutal game. I'm very sensitive and quiet so I know for sure that a career in politics would not be for me.

That said though, if there's something that sparks joy or you're thinking obsessively about, I don't see why you need to step away from it. Any sorts of barriers that you face can be overcome, and I have no doubt that if there's something that you're truly passionate in it feels like it helps with recovery anyway.

Hopefully if you go into parliament you'll think of us and help to make our system better- we need that.


Community Member
Hi- you have my vote you seem to care about the stuff that regular people experience- Go for it!

Community Champion
Community Champion


Many years ago there was a member of a state parliament who had manic depression now called bipolar. he was quite a senior member when he came out and told people. he said he was glad he did but he paid a price as new blamed for decisions and people would point to his illness if he did everything different. he eventually left . i am hazy about details as am doing this from memory.

I think being in po,it seems can cause mental illness as we have seen recently and over the years due to stress.

I would not advise anyone to enter politics as I feel the way it is now it is very stressful and your privacy and that of your family will be gone. Everything yo do is used by the press.

Thanks for an interesting topic