‘Absolutely Fabulous’ actor’s comments have divided opinion
Joanna Lumley has told everybody who she perceives to be jumping on the “mental illness bandwagon” to “just get a grip”.
Speaking on right-wing commentator Isabel Oakeshott’s podcast, the actor and presenter said: “When someone dies and you grieve, that’s human. That’s what being human is, you’re not mentally ill.
“And I think it is also awful to people who really are mentally ill, who are properly clinically depressed, for everybody to say they’ve got to have some sort of special treatment.”
She added: “Everyone’s claiming the mental illness bandwagon and I think that’s wrong.”
Lumley then quoted a poem by 19th century poet Adam Lindsay Gordon, which goes:
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
The Absolutely Fabulous star said: “If you just think of that, just get a grip, do you know what I mean?
“Of course some of you are going to feel bloody awful or suicidal or mentally depressed, that’s a different thing, but anybody who just goes, ‘Oh burr,’ you just think, get over it!”
Many Twitter users criticised Lumley’s remarks. “I’m intrigued what qualifications she has to make such a dangerous statement/assessment?” commented one person.
Another added: “I see Lumley is still in character as Amanda’s mum in Motherland. The ‘pull your socks up’ brigade has a lot to answer for.
“Looking after your mental health isn’t the same as being clinically mentally ill. But old people seem to think that having emotions is a weakness.”
Former Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, however, agreed with Lumley. “LOVE this,” he tweeted.
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“Of course, when I’ve regularly said similar stuff, I’ve been branded a heartless monster.
“Perhaps now a national treasure like Dame Joanna’s said it, people may understand it’s actually a good thing to show mental resilience & a bit of ‘stiff upper lip’.”