Actress Joanna Lumley says ‘everyone’ is claiming the mental illness bandwagon
GB News

Actress Joanna Lumley has attracted criticism online after she said everyone is “claiming the mental illness bandwagon”, telling people to “just get a grip” instead.

Speaking to Isabelle Oakeshott, the 75-year-old Absolutely Fabulous star said it is “awful” to those with mental illnesses for “everyone to say they’ve got to have some sort of special treatment”.

“When somebody dies and you grieve, that’s what being a human is. You’re not mentally ill.

“Everybody’s claiming the mental illness bandwagon and I think that’s wrong."

The performer has spoken candidly about her own mental health issues in the past, including when she reportedly hallucinated “snipers” were pointing guns at her in London’s Garrick Theatre in 1971.

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She told The Times at the time: “It was six months. It was a complete nervous breakdown.

“I was pretty badly shaken up. My nerves were gone. I didn’t dare go to the shops.

“I had a really ropey old time. I was spending all day thinking, ‘How will I get through the day?’

“I had those panic attacks when you think, ‘Breathe in, breathe out, just keep breathing in. Study the flowers. What colour are the flowers?’

“Anything to stop your mind going mad. And I thought, ‘I’ve got to get out of this, how do I?’”

Ms Lumley, who also spoke about animal rights issues during the interview, then went on to cite a short poem, reportedly by Adam Lindsay Gordon.

“Life is mostly froth and bubble / Two things stand like stone / Kindness in another’s trouble / Courage in your own,” it reads.

“And if you think of that, just, get a grip! Do you know what I mean?

“Of course, some of you are going to feel bloody awful, and some of you may well be suicidal or mentally depressed – that’s a different thing – but anybody who just goes, ‘oh, burr’, you just go, ‘get over it’,” the personality added.

The comments, aired on Friday, have since divided the Internet, with some praising the star’s remarks:



Others, meanwhile, were more critical:







On this occasion, we think Ms Lumley’s opinions are far from Ab Fab…

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: actiononaddiction.org.uk, mind.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.orgto find a helpline near you.

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