Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “doing fine” but is a “bit tired sometimes” when asked about her mental health during lockdown.
Following news that Kirsty Blackman is stepping down as the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, Ms Sturgeon said it was “to her immense credit” she has been open about the impact of lockdown on her mental health.
Asked about her own mental wellbeing at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: “The priority for me is to think about how other people are doing.
“I’m doing fine, I’m very busy, get a bit tired sometimes, not just answering all of these questions, but generally.
“I’ve got a job to do and I’m getting on with doing it to the best of my ability, and trying to keep focused on that.”
Praising Ms Blackman, she added: “I think it is to her immense credit [Ms Blackman] was very open about the pressures on her mental health that she had experienced during lockdown and that was the reason behind her decision — so I would pay tribute to her.
“She is a fantastic, talented politician, but I think it’s really good that politicians do speak out about the trials and tribulations that we all have.
“I know sometimes it’s difficult for people to accept but we are all human beings, suffering from the same stresses and strains as others.
“I think it’s important at this time that people understand that this is difficult for everybody.
“Cut yourself some slack, don’t be hard on yourself. There are sources of support out there if you need them through NHS24 and other organisations.”
In her statement announcing her decision, posted on Twitter, Ms Blackman wrote: “I have taken the difficult decision to stand down as @thesnp deputy leader in Westminster.
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved as SNP Westminster deputy leader over the past three years.
“Together with our team of SNP MPs we have provided a strong voice for Scotland at a challenging time, won a landslide victory at the general election, and seen support for independence rise to record levels.
“Like many others, I’ve struggled with the impact that lockdown has had on my mental health.
“In order to prioritise my constituency and my family, I have made the difficult personal decision to step down from my leadership role.
“I strongly believe that people must be able to talk openly about mental health issues, which affect so many of us.
“I look forward to continuing my work for Aberdeen North and standing up for Scotland at Westminster.”