Scott Morrison reveals he was crippled by anxiety during time as prime minister

The Nightly
2 Min Read
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed for the first time that he suffered crippling anxiety during his time in The Lodge.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed for the first time that he suffered crippling anxiety during his time in The Lodge. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAPImage

Scott Morrison battled “debilitating and agonising” anxiety during his time as prime minister and without medication could have fallen into deep depression, he has revealed for the first time.

The former PM has revealed in his new book Plans for Your Good: A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness that he suffered for much of his term in the top job.

Mr Morrison, who was prime minister from 2018 to 2022, told The Australian there was no specific trigger for his anxiety, rather it began to overwhelm him as the pressures of the job mounted.

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“It was a very stressful period and the combination of the weight of issues, the length of hours that we were working, the physical demands that brought and to be honest the stuff around China was as, if not more, distressing than the pandemic. You’re flesh and blood and so it would start to impact you,” he said.

The COVID pandemic, Australia’s relationship with China and media scrutiny all added to the mental health burden.

Scott Morrison says the pressures of the job added to his anxiety.
Scott Morrison says the pressures of the job added to his anxiety. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAPIMAGE

Mr Morrison said he tried swimming and cooking to help ease his anxiety but in the end sought help from a doctor in Canberra who prescribed him medication.

“Without this help, serious depression would have manifested. What impacted me was the combination of pure physical exhaustion with the unrelenting and callous brutality of politics and media attacks,” he writes in the book.

“As a politician I know this goes with the territory. That’s not a complaint or even an accusation. It’s just reality. Politicians are not made of stone, yet they’re often treated as though they are, including by each other.”

Mr Morrison said the anxiety got so bad he would dread getting out of bed.

“You can’t deal with it by telling yourself to, as we say in Australia, take a teaspoon of cement and harden up.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone SANE Australia Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).

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