Lewisham councillor resigns after 'almost taking own life'

Lewisham Council's headquarters
Lewisham Council's headquarters

A South London councillor has resigned after revealing he considered taking his life due to mental health problems.

Stephen Hayes announced he had stepped down as Labour councillor for Deptford in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, from September 18.

Lewisham Council confirmed he was no longer a councillor.

Mr Hayes shared a screen shot of the resignation letter he wrote to mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan and others.

In the letter Mr Hayes said he could not ‘in good faith continue to represent Deptford effectively’ and for this reason had decided to step down.

He added that it had been ‘an honour to represent [his] home for the last two years’ but said that during this time he had suffered with ‘complex mental health issues’.

“On Sunday, the 10th of September my mental health took a dip and I almost took my own life,” he continued.

Mr Hayes was elected to Lewisham Council in May 2022. He was born in Deptford and has lived there for 26 years.

According to his profile on the Lewisham Labour Party’s website, he works as an employment advisor for a mental health charity.

In his resignation letter, he thanked mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan, and fellow Deptford councillors, deputy mayor Brenda Dacres and councillor Rosie Parry for their support.

He added: “I also want to thank members of Deptford ward who have been supportive and understanding, and of course all Deptford residents.

“When I was elected two years ago, I said in my speech that I was not expecting someone like me to get this opportunity and for the people of Deptford to put their trust in me. It has been an honour and privilege and I’m sorry that I cannot continue to represent my ward in an effective manner.”

Lewisham Council said a date for a by-election had yet to be decided.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has contacted Stephen Hayes.