London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has opened up about how his mental health has been impacted by receiving constant death threats.
Mr Khan said to the Guardian that these threats and the consequences of traumatic events like terror attacks had a “cumulative” effect on him.
When asked if he had PTSD, the mayor said: “Without a doubt. My best friend is a doctor and we talk about it.”
A spokesperson for Mr Khan told the BBC: “The mayor tries to fight mental health stigma.”
The spokesperson also said: “By being honest about his own experiences and urging others to do the same, he is showing Londoners that they are never alone.”
Mr Khan confessed to the Guardian that his mental health worsened after getting death threats, dealing with disasters and terror attacks. He said: “I lost my spark. I didn’t have clear thinking. I wasn’t so lively. I wasn’t motivating my team.”
I was with a lot of grieving families and that affects your mental health. I got help in learning about PTSD.
“Mental health is delicate if it’s not cared for. And I shouldn’t be scared to talk about it.”
He said: “I’m not equating what I am experiencing to some of the things people experience.”
Mr Khan, 52, said: “As a lawyer, my clients with PTSD were asylum seekers and refugees. I would never make a comparison to what I am going through, nor would I ever want people to pity me.”
Mr Khan also talked about the exchanges he had with former US President Donald Trump on Twitter, which caused a rise in threats to him on social media.
And referring to the 2017 deadly attack at the Finsbury Park mosque, Mr Khan said: “The terrorist was after me.
“He couldn’t find me so he chose to target Jeremy Corbyn and Muslims. Every time Trump says something awful about me there’s a huge increase in hostility towards me on social media.
“Then there are people who follow Daesh (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda who think you can’t be a Muslim and a westerner, I get it from both sides regarding the death threats.”
Mr Khan has been the Labour mayor for London since 2016 and will be trying to win a third term next year.