Dame Joanna Lumley says everyone is jumping on 'mental health bandwagon'

Dame Joanna Lumley has suggested many people are jumping on “the mental illness bandwagon”, telling them: “Just get a grip.”

The star, 75, said she thinks mental health is being “overplayed” right now and that anyone who is sad is saying they have mental health issues.

She said there is a difference between experiencing human emotions like grief and being clinically depressed.

Speaking during an interview about her work campaigning for animal welfare, Dame Joanna said: “I have to say – this is a horrible thing to say – but I think the mental health thing is being overplayed at the moment because anybody who is even remotely sad says they have got mental problems."

She went on: “You go, ‘This is what is called being human’. When someone dies and you grieve, that’s human. That’s what being a human is. You’re not mentally ill."

The star thinks people are jumping on 'the mental illness bandwagon'. (Getty)
The star thinks people are jumping on 'the mental illness bandwagon'. (Getty)

The TV star said it was "awful" to people who are mentally ill or properly clinically depressed, "for everybody to say they’ve got to have some sort of special treatment".

“And everyone’s claiming the mental illness bandwagon and I think that’s wrong," she said.

“Although much derided, the stiff upper lip and not blubbing and trying to get on with it…”

Dame Joanna, who is best known for playing Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, also quoted a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon.

It says life is "mostly froth and bubble" and that two things that "stand like stone" are "Kindness in another’s trouble / Courage in your own.”

Joanna Lumley in Old Palace Yard, London, following her victory on banning detonation as a means of clearing underwater unexploded ordnance for offshore windfarm construction. Picture date: Tuesday November 16, 2021.
The star praised the British 'stiff upper lip'. (PA)

She added: “And if you think of that, just get a grip."

The star went on :“Of course some of you are going to feel bloody awful and some of you may well be suicidal or mentally depressed, that’s a different thing.

“But anybody who just goes, ‘Oh burr’ – you just think, ‘Get over it’.”

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

Additional reporting by PA.