John Bercow spoke from the heart on Monday night in support of mental health charity Jami.
Addressing Jami’s annual dinner at The Savoy, the Commons Speaker told the 200 guests: “Believe me: I have seen people who suffer from mental illness. I know even of colleagues who experienced it. I would not wish such problems on my worst enemy.
“Some people go to hell and back on a very regular basis. It is a horrible, dehumanising, misery-making experience.
“So anything we can do to support them, we should.” Mr Bercow also praised Jami’s work, which, he said, had helped enormously in destigmatising mental illness.
Over 25 years, it has grown from helping 100 people through a Golders Green day centre to supporting over 1,000 sufferers across London.
Jami chief executive Laurie Rackind and chair Doug Krikler were among the speakers, as was a London mother who had been helped enormously by the charity after her 24-year-old son attempted suicide.
“When mental illness strikes a family, it is a weapon of mass destruction,” she said.
“It is almost a year since I nearly lost my son. He still has a long, long way to go, but he is here.
“Jami showed me how to deal with the system in which the people we love most are stuck — and I am eternally grateful.”
The dinner raised over £225,000 for Jami’s work.