Jared O’Mara has spoken about his suicide attempts and mental health
He returns to Parliament this month
Jared O'Mara has revealed that he made three suicide attempts in the last nine months following his suspension.
The Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam has also opened up about his mental health conditions, which include autism, clinical depression, and an anxiety disorder he has developed.
O'Mara, suspended last October over abusive comments he made in his 20s, will make his maiden speech in Parliament this month.
Speaking on ITV News last night, O'Mara said: "I'll not mince my words, I made three attempts on my life.
"I was harassed and hounded by the press, I was too scared to go home. I was scared, I was shaking, I was crying and that lasted for weeks."
EXCL: In his first interview since being readmitted to the Labour Party, Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara tells me:
-He has attempted suicide 3 times in the 9 months since being suspended by Labour over racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
— Joe Pike (@joepike) July 10, 2018
He also apologised to constituents over misogynistic and homophobic comments that were uncovered by Guido Fawkes last year, which led to his suspension. O'Mara, now 36, made the comments in his 20s.
Labour announced the reinstatement of O'Mara this month, giving him a formal warning and ordering him to attend training.
O'Mara said that his autism means he "can't read faces or read body language", and that his disabilities should not serve as an obstacle to him serving as an MP.
He said he will make his maiden speech in Parliament this month, just over a year on from his election, and used the interview to encourage greater openness around mental health.
"I want people to be open about issues around mental health and not be ashamed about it and to talk to people. The best thing I've done this last year is learn to talk to my mum, I love my mum", he said. "It's really changed me because I can be myself now, finally."
O'Mara also issued a statement through the Labour Party earlier this week, saying: "I want to use this opportunity to restate my full and unreserved apology for the comments I made online as a young man. I grew up in an environment where lad culture and prejudicial language were normalised.
“I was in a bad place back then, and after being bullied and called many of those abusive slurs myself, I repeated them as a way of deflecting from my own low self-esteem and depression. But this is not an excuse and I take full responsibility for the unacceptable language I used."
"I am ashamed of the man I was then. I’ve been on a journey of education since, and I am continuing to listen to and learn from others’ experiences and educate myself about tackling prejudice and discrimination. I will be pleased to attend the training mandated by the panel, and I hope this will deepen my understanding of these issues further."
He was elected in the June 2017 snap election, in an unexpected victory for Labour in Sheffield Hallam which saw former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg lose his seat.
Anyone having suicidal thoughts or struggling with their mental health can contact Samaritans for free at any time, from any phone, at 116 123, or by email at [email protected]