London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that dealing with the aftermath of disasters and receiving death threats since taking office have left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Khan described it as a “cumulative” type of PTSD, while stressing that he was not equating it to the PTSD endured by refugees or people who had faced similar experiences.
Khan, who will challenge for a third term next year, told the interviewer that he “lost his mojo” during lockdowns as coronavirus had its own effect on his mental health as well.
“I didn’t have clarity of thinking. I wasn’t so sparky. I wasn’t inspiring my team,” the 52-year-old said.
The mayor said that his security entourage offers “the same level of protection the prime minister and the king receive,” adding that dealing with death threats and the aftermath of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire have affected his mental health.
He said that he had been told by a friend, a doctor, that he was suffering from a “cumulative” version of PTSD.
Khan was quoted as saying: “By the way, I’m not comparing what I am going through to some of the stuff people go through — as a lawyer, my clients with PTSD were asylum seekers and refugees.
“I would never give equivalence to what I am going through. Nor would I ever want people to feel sorry for me. I’m very privileged to do the job I do.
“By the way, if this means I’m a snowflake, so be it, right? Mental health is fragile if it’s not looked after. And I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.”
Khan also discussed the issue of housing, saying that his daughters are still living with him due to London’s shortage of reasonably priced accommodation.
“If I was speaking to you 20 years ago, I’d be saying, I’m worried about cleaners and bus drivers not being able to live in London. Now it’s nurses, doctors, teachers. My children have finished their degrees and are living at home,” he said.
“By 2030, one in three 30-year-olds will still be living with their mum and dad. I love my kids, but I want them to leave at some stage, right? So, we’ve got to fix the housing crisis. I was 24 when I bought my first home. That’s unthinkable now.”
Khan said that he hopes to serve six terms as mayor in order to create a London “that can have our children feeling they have a future rather than being worried about what the future holds.”