Humza Yousaf has revealed he hit a “crisis point” and was in a “state of breakdown” after his first marriage failed and he became overwhelmed with work.

He said he spent 24 hours immobile on his sofa and crying when he was transport minister. 

The First Minister told The Rest is Politics Podcast he didn’t tell any of his family or his SNP colleagues because of the “stigma” and in case he was “out of a job”.

He later had counselling and “took time out”, which he said was “the best thing I ever did”.

Mr Yousaf, 38, spoke last year about receiving counselling for mental health issues, but his new comments are far more detailed. 

Although he did not give a date, Mr Yousaf began a two-year stint as transport minister in May 2016 and his marriage to Gail Lythgoe broke down that summer.

The couple separated in mid-June, just short of their sixth wedding anniversary.

In December 2016, Mr Yousaf was caught by the police for driving without insurance on the A835 near Dingwall, an “honest mistake” he blamed on the break-up.

READ MORE: SNP Transport Minister Humza Yousaf blames marriage split for driving without insurance

The Glasgow Pollok MSP had also been facing dismissal calls over problems at ScotRail.

Mr Yousaf recorded the podcast with former Tory MP Rory Stewart and former New Labour spindoctor Alastair Campbell on a visit to London last week.

After Mr Campbell asked whether he had carried on with his counselling since becoming First Minister last spring, Mr Yousaf said: “I haven’t, actually, and that’s to my detriment.

“I absolutely should check in. Because it is important and I learned the lesson far too late. 

“I remember it well. I remember the day that I knew I needed help. 

“I was Transport Minister, my first marriage had broken down, it was a really tough time I was having. I remember it was in the middle of difficult weather - [for] transport ministers that’s always a difficult job. And I didn't really feel I had anybody to turn to. 

“I remember actually a whole day passing, I literally did not move from the right hand side of my settee. For a whole 24 hours I didn't move, didn't get up to drink water, didn't go to the toilet, didn't eat anything.

“I remember just almost being in a state of breakdown, and crying and upset, and not really understanding what I was upset at. 

“But then at that point, 24 hours later, knowing I needed help.”

The Herald:

He said he called a friend who was a psychiatrist and he recommended counselling 

“I never spoke to [then First minister] Nicola [Sturgeon] about it, never spoke to any of my colleagues about it.”

Asked if felt there was a stigma attached to a serving politician seeking help, Mr Yousaf said: “One hundred percent. I actually thought, if they know about it, I’ll not be in a job.

“Now I don't think that'd be the case, that Nicola would have been perfectly understanding as would my government colleagues. [Then deputy FM] John Swinney, who I’ve always been close to, I think these people would have been very understanding. 

“But it was just you didn't hear about ministers with mental health challenges. If they had mental health challenges, they left the job. 

“And I didn't feel like I wanted to necessarily leave at that point. 

“But yeah, I didn't, I didn't tell anybody actually, family, nobody actually knew about it.”

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Mr Yousaf said he accepted that as First Minister he did not truly have a private life - and had spoken to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer about it when the two met recently at Cop28. 

The First Minister said his advice was to “draw boundaries” and protect private time with family, something he didn’t do in the past, affecting his mental health.