Svend Robinson speaks out about illness

Former MP Svend Robinson, who recently announced an attempted return to politics, says he's just one of many people who have a mental illness.

Former MP Svend Robinson, who recently announced an attempted return to politics, says he's just one of many people who have a mental illness.



Svend Robinson (CP file Photo)
Robinson, who has disclosed he has a bipolar disorder, says there is still too much stigma attached to mental illness.

Robinson's illness came to light after his conviction last year for stealing an expensive diamond ring.

Speaking at an event organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association on Tuesday night, Robinson said he still doesn't know why he stole the $64,000 ring.

But he says it wouldn't have happened if he didn't have bipolar disorder.

He says the stigma attached to mental illness kept him from going to a therapist and admitting he needed help.

"Especially when our views of psychiatry are still, and psychotherapy, are still some version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, right? I couldn't do it. But I had to do it."

Robinson says mental illness should be treated just like a physical illness.

He says his own bipolar disorder won't stop him from being a competent MP if he wins a seat in Parliament, where he says he'll be fighting for the rights of the mentally ill if elected.

Robinson, who stepped down as an MP in Burnaby following the ring theft, is seeking the NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre where he wants to run against veteran Liberal MP Hedy Fry.