Gay Tory MP who attempted to take own life says ‘help is out there’

Gay Tory MP Elliot Colburn shared that he attempted to take his life in February 2021, telling the public that “help is out there”.

Colburn, who has served as MP for Carshalton and Wallington since 2019, told MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (7 February) that he had attempted suicide in February 2021.

“February marks emotional health, boost your self-esteem and children’s mental health month,” 31-year-old Colburn told MPs.

“In recent years something like 6,500 people die in the UK each year due to suicide. In 2021 I was nearly one of them.”

He continued: “Luckily, my attempt failed, I was found by family members quickly, I received amazing care at St Helier and Springfield Hospitals, didn’t do any permanent damage and was well looked after by the NHS in the months that followed.

“In that moment, I felt alone and scared, and like there was no way out, and that the world would be better off without me in it.”

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“I don’t recognise that man any more,” he said, to cheers from his colleagues. “I know that nothing is ever really worth that, help really is out there, and I am pretty awesome.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commended Colburn for his “bravery” in sharing his story, and explained that he takes the issue of suicide and mental health “incredibly seriously”.

Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk of mental health concerns and suicidal thoughts, with a 2022 report finding that more than half of trans and non-binary youth considered suicide within the past year.

Worrying research also found that a quarter of Black trans and non-binary young people in the US had attempted suicide.

“These findings underscore the disparities in access to mental health care and systems of support among LGBTQ youth, a group consistently found to be at significantly increased risk for suicide due to the anti-LGBTQ victimisation they face, and how they are mistreated in society at large,” Carrie Davis, chief community officer at LGBTQ+ mental health charity The Trevor Project said.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

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