PEI

P.E.I. MLA opens up about mental health struggle

A P.E.I. MLA shared his story of a struggle with a mental health illness as part of Bell Let's Talk Day.

Pat Murphy says talking to people helped him through anxiety last fall

P.E.I. Rural and Regional Development Minister Pat Murphy shared his struggle last fall with mental illness on Bell Let's Talk Day and encourages people to talk to others about their experiences. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A P.E.I. MLA shared his story of a struggle with a mental health illness as part of Bell Let's Talk Day.

Pat Murphy, the Liberal representative for District 26, Alberton–Roseville, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he had always been happy go lucky but last fall something changed.

Murphy, who's the minister of rural and regional development, said one day he felt different, his mind was racing and he was questioning himself and everything else. His wife, Karen, noticed something was different, as well. At first, they didn't tell anyone, they told people that he had the flu.

But he went to his doctor, who taught him coping skills and techniques. He says he was able to get through the anxiety without the need for medication.

Important to talk about it

He said at first he was ashamed of his experience, but he started telling people and received a lot of support and others started sharing their stories.

"Reaching out and talking to people was very helpful for me," he said in an interview.

I was really surprised by the number of people who had experienced or had a family member or a friend who experienced something like that or something similar.— Pat Murphy

"Once I initially started talking about it, I didn't really have a problem talking about it and told all my friends and everybody about what was going on."

He said a lot of people responded by telling their stories or the stories of people close to them who also dealt with mental health issues.

"I was really surprised by the number of people who had experienced or had a family member or a friend who experienced something like that or something similar," he said.

Decided to post it

He's doing fine now and he encourages people to speak more openly about mental health.

MLA Pat Murphy shared his story on Facebook on Bell Let's Talk Day. (Facebook)

"I thought yesterday, well, should I post that or should I not post that? And then I said well, yes I should post it, especially somebody that's in the public eye like I am now that it might help other people and help them understand it does help if you talk to other people," he said.

"It's no worse than having a cold or the flu or anything else."

With files from Laura Chapin