James Lister takes leave to focus on mental health
Member for Southern Downs James Lister has announced he is taking a two-month leave of absence to focus on his mental health.
Mr Lister addressed Parliament this morning to request leave for the next nine sitting dates, taking his leave through to the end of May.
The MP said the decision came after talks with both his doctor and his wife, Belinda.
“Over the years I have been progressively worn down, I’ve become upset about the past, and I’ve found life, work, and keeping up appearances increasingly hard,” he said.
“So I need to be away from my duties for two months of treatment and recovery.
“I served for 17 years in the Australian Defence Force before becoming an MP. And whilst my difficulties stem from that period, I would like to put on record that the military was generous in the help that it gave me, and that I continue to receive excellent treatment and support through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”
Mr Lister said acknowledging his battle with mental health issues and taking steps to seek treatment would help him be a better father and representative for the Southern Downs.
“It will set the right example, because as a military and now community leader, I have always said that people should speak openly about mental health and be confident to ask for help,” he said.
Mr Lister said his Warwick and Stanthorpe offices will continue to run as usual during his leave.
“I thank the people of the Southern Downs for their understanding while I am out of action,” he said.
“I will be back better and stronger than ever.”
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