'I was in a pretty dark place' Politician Jack Sargeant on his mental health struggle during the pandemic

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Jack Sargeant MS said people should seek help during the pandemic Credit: ITV Wales

Labour MS Jack Sargeant is urging those who need support with their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic to seek help. He was speaking about his experiences of lockdown during an episode of The New Normal with Adrian Masters podcast.

Jack Sargeant said towards the end of last year he needed to go back on antidepressants.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one as well. Perhaps there is a message for many to take, if you do need help in what still is a difficult time then please seek it...

"I was in a pretty dark place. And it was for no reason, it was nothing. That's probably what wound me up a little bit more than usual because I couldn't understand why. Certainly I'm in a much better place now. That doesn't mean to say I don't have bad days every now and again. But who doesn't?"

The politician from Connah's Quay said Zoom quizzes with his friends and spending time outdoors building a mud kitchen for his partner's daughter are some of the things that have been keeping him going and raising his spirits.

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The Alyn and Deeside MS said the issue of mental health could be described as another pandemic. He added that he is concerned about "our wonderful NHS and social care staff and volunteers" considering how the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted them.

He said: "I think there's a, I would call it a pandemic before the coronavirus pandemic. And sadly, I think it's only going to get worse... I really do have concerns and it's about for me, how are we going to reach the communities and the people within those communities that wouldn't normally seek support?"

Jack Sargeant's father, Carl Sargeant, died on 7th November 2017. Carl Sargeant previously represented Alyn and Deeside and held senior roles in the cabinet.

Jack Sargeant said: "One of the things that I've reflected on during this time, was obviously, Dad. It's been quite hard at times. And we also lost my mum's dad, during nearly the end of last year. And he was a big, he was a big Labour man, and he got my dad into the politics as well. But one of the things he used to say was 'look after your neighbour' and if you from the Quay, as I am, you look after your neighbour, no matter what."

The Labour MS has been campaigning for 'kinder politics' and encouraging politicians to treat each other more respectfully.

He said: "Often we say to ourselves 'we are just human beings'. So sometimes I want to throw it back because perhaps people should start acting like human beings."

Conservative MS Suzy Davies joined Jack Sargeant on the podcast. Although the pair are from different political parties, they are friends who support one another.

Suzy Davies is standing down at May's election. Adrian Masters asked her if she had been forced out.

Suzy Davies MS joined Adrian Masters and Jack Sargeant on the podcast Credit: PA

Suzy Davies said: "I was obviously not particularly happy about how brutal it was. Because going from the top of the list to the bottom, which is what happened, this suggests that there was a certain level of orchestration going on there...

"I wouldn't call it a relief, I think I still had a bit more energy left in me to do another term. But what happened to me was extremely localised and the internal systems we have for ranking and selecting candidates on the regional list... let's say a little bit of extra work could be done on them."

Jack Sargeant said Suzy Davies will be "sorely missed" in the Senedd. But she plans to continue working in politics.

She said: "I've still got a huge amount of work to do with my party on getting it to understand what the purpose of gender balance is, rather than it just being something they think they ought to do. Let's just say I'm still on a bit of an uphill struggle with that one."

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