The Mental Health Foundation took to social media today to address "upsetting" behaviour it has witnessed around the Jami-Lee Ross saga.

Yesterday the former National Party MP was picked up by police and sectioned to a mental health facility, according to a source close to him.

The source told the Herald Ross was "not in good shape" and felt "terribly alone".

Until today the foundation remained quiet on the entire Ross, Simon Bridges and National Party saga but now says it feels it needs to comment on the matter.


"We have until now remained mostly quiet about Jami-Lee Ross and we will continue not to give comment to media for the time being, but we'd like to say something to you," it wrote on Twitter.

"We have been troubled (as have many of you) by some unkind and sensationalised comments regarding Mr Ross's mental health. We know and accept that to have a sitting MP apparently sectioned under the Mental Health Act is unprecedented and there are many other aspects of this story that warrant open discussion, but we are disappointed to see old attitudes about mental illness and distress seeping into those discussions.

"The Mental Health Foundation has no position on the political aspects of this conversation. But we believe you can have discussions about these valid issues without using discriminatory or stigmatising language and without weaponising Mr Ross's distress against him."

At the start of this month, he took leave from Parliament to address personal health issues before accusing Bridges of electoral fraud last week.

The accusation ignited a war of words between Ross and Bridges, the National Party leader later accusing the Botany MP of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

In the weeks following Ross' leave but before this week, it is understood his doctors told the National leadership team that Ross was doing better and could return to work.

Last week, as Ross fronted media, he repeatedly said that he was healthy, even after four women spoke to Newsroom about what they called bullying and intimidating behaviour from Ross. Two more women later also complained.

Ross disagreed with the way the women portrayed him in the media, but admitted to extra-marital affairs - including with a married MP - and said he had apologised to his wife.


The foundation continued its Twitter thread and said everyone experiencing mental health problems deserved "compassion, support and privacy".

"We're all very good at telling people to ask for help when they're struggling, but today we're asking you to think about what you're telling those same people when you're talking about Mr Ross. Everyone who is experiencing a mental health problem deserves compassion, support and privacy," it wrote.

"The damage done by thoughtless words and conversations can be hard to see. It builds up over time. Someone might laugh today but remember your words years later when they're struggling. They might feel ashamed and be less likely to reach out for help.

"We have heard from people who have had to turn away from social media and avoid the news because they have found these discussions so upsetting. We hope you'll keep them in mind in the coming days and weeks. If you're having a hard time at the moment, kia kaha. If you ever need to talk, you can free call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor, any time."


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

• Youthline: 0800 376 633

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)

• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.