'Hypocritical' lockdown skeptics are 'weaponising mental health', Natasha Devon says

22 January 2021, 15:45

Natasha and James on lockdown skeptics "coopting" mental health

By Fiona Jones

Natasha Devon tells James O'Brien she is campaigning for the media to approach mental health in a more mindful way, as lockdown skeptics are using it as an excuse to fulfil their own agenda.

Mental health campaigner and LBC presenter Natasha Devon has signed an open letter, along with other campaigners, charity leader and academics, calling for the media to help stop mental health from being 'weaponised' by lockdown sceptics.

Natasha told James she was "angry" at the fact she and other campaigners have worked tirelessly for a decade to have mental health discussed in a positive way.

"There's limited space for these issues to be discussed and our voices have been appropriated and this issue has been co-opted by so called lockdown skeptics," Natasha said, pointing out anti-lockdown voices are part of the culture war and completely political ideology, nothing to do with mental health.

"This idea that lockdown skeptics speak for the mental health community, that they represent us, is a complete fallacy," Natasha said, pointing out that she talks to people with mental health issues every day and none of them are anti-lockdown.

If mental health is discussed in the media, it should be to truly raise awareness and also to signpost towards mental health charities and campaigners.

James said there is hypocrisy at play, as there are some anti-lockdown voices who "suddenly have discovered a deep concern for problems that they denied the existence of up until the beginning of last year."

Natasha agreed and in the open letter she signed, she asked for the media to be extra vigilant about the intentions behind people citing mental health as a reason to resist lockdown: "Is the person speaking because they genuinely want to raise awareness? Or are they speaking because their real intention is to lobby against lockdowns?"

"They're reaching for any weapon they can find, regardless of whether they are honest or not," James said, quoting the letter which pointed out that even if there was no lockdown, mental health would still exist and people would still fear leaving their homes due to conditions such as anxiety.

James continued: "I can't quite believe I have to say these words out loud, but you have people claiming that mental health is being impacted by lockdown while completely ignoring the impact of mental health that having a relative die might have."

"People who use the word snowflake as a pejorative now have a concern for issues that they previously denied."

For lockdown skeptics who are framing this in a binary fashion, "lockdown equals bad mental health" and "liberty equals good mental health", it is "extremely unhelpful."

There is an extensive roster of signatories on the open letter, including high profile campaigners, medical professionals, charities and Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition former chair Dr Pooky Knightsmith.

More James O'Brien

See more More James O'Brien

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Sacked borders watchdog David Neal said the Home Office is 'dysfunctional' and needs reform.

'It goes to the very top': Sacked border watchdog slams Home Office and calls for reform after Cleverly row

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Sir Keir Starmer has defended comments he made about Margaret Thatcher earlier this month.

Starmer defends Thatcher comments as he says he ‘completely disagrees’ with former prime minister’s politics

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

James Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as home secretary on Monday

'I've spent more time with James Cleverly this week than with Suella Braverman in the last year', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

James O'Brien discusses Suella Braverman's 'destructionist' leadership style with a caller

'She's a destructionist': James O'Brien caller claims Suella Braverman governs like 'a five-year-old'

James O'Brien

'She definitely has something on him': Caller and James O'Brien debate why the PM hasn't sacked Suella Braverman yet

'A complete reset of the top' is needed says caller.

'We're being let down': There is a 'complete disconnection' between parliamentary and local Conservatives says caller

James O'Brien

'It's essential that people are able to protest peacefully against war', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak 'almost physically moves away' from Suella Braverman in House of Commons debate, says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

'Suella Braverman succeeded - she's caused hate', claims caller after Home Secretary criticises pro-Palestine marches

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

James O'Brien on Dagestan

'It's a hatred as old as religion itself': James O'Brien analyses escalating anti-Semitism after Muslim crowd storms Dagestan airport

Carol Vorderman shocked about UK Poverty

'One million children are living in destitution': Carol Vorderman struggles to comprehend stark wealth inequality in the UK

Wes Streeting on dentistry

Wes Streeting invites the government to steal Labour's policy to solve 'dickensian' NHS dentist crisis

James O'Brien

'I think they're the loneliest voters in Britain', James O'Brien claims after Tories' double by-election defeat

JOB and caller Andy

Biden's visit to Israel is to show that the US stands 'unequivocally' with Israel says James O'Brien caller

JOB and Usman

Israel's current response will only 'strengthen' Hamas by rearing Gazans who seek revenge warns this James O'Brien caller

JOB on deaths in conflict

James O'Brien unpacks the 'controversial' feeling of being 'equally devastated' by Palestinian and Israeli deaths

JOB on starmer speech

Keir Starmer is using 'working class as the opposite of having a sense of entitlement', notes James O'Brien

JOB on HS2 promises

James O'Brien criticises Rishi Sunak's watering down of 'illustrative' Network North projects funded by HS2 cut

Sadiq Khan and James O'Brien

Sadiq Khan declares there is 'no place for anti-Semitism' in London as kosher restaurant in Golders Green attacked

James O'Brien on the challenge HS2 scrappage poses to Labour.

‘How much can Rishi Sunak knock down before Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister?, asks James O’Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak is like an 'incontinent cat': James O'Brien slams Tories ahead of PM's Party Conference speech

JoB and Jeremy Hunt

Navy veteran deeply hurt by Jeremy Hunt's plans to clamp down on benefit claimants

James O'Brien on Tory tactics in the upcoming election.

Tories desperately seeking wedge issues is the 'only way' they will retain power in 2024, says James O'Brien

James and caller Mervin on knife crime

'I'd prefer you to go to jail than die': James O'Brien is left aghast by this caller's father's stance on knife possession

James O'Brien

James O'Brien ridicules those prioritising Labour's private school VAT plans over the cost of living crisis

James O'Brien

'I mean this is a novel': James O'Brien hears why this caller blames Labour for HS2 problems

James O'Brien

James O'Brien takes aim at uninformed 'idiots' criticising Keir Starmer for not wanting to diverge from EU rules